Volkswagen shareholder files first suit in Germany over stock plunge

A new Volkswagen car ready for shipping in Bremerhaven, northwestern Germany.
A new Volkswagen car ready for shipping in Bremerhaven, northwestern Germany.AFP

BERLIN, (AFP) - A Volkswagen shareholder has filed what is believed to be the first suit against the embattled car company for damages suffered when the company's stock sank over a massive pollution cheating scam, a law firm said Friday.

The plaintiff had only recently bought shares in Volkswagen but made massive losses after the global deception was made public on Sept 18, said Marc Schiefer from the law firm Kanzlei Tilp.

The shareholder is seeking €20,000 (S$32,000) in damages.

Class action suits do not exist in Germany as they do in the United States and Britain, but Volkswagen can be legally challenged for damages suffered by shareholders.

The global scam has wiped out around 40 per cent of Volkswagen's market capitalisation.

On Friday, the stock lost another 4.94 per cent to reach €91.73.

Volkswagen has admitted that up to 11 million diesel cars worldwide are fitted with devices that can switch on pollution controls when they detect the car is undergoing testing.

They then switch off the controls when the car is on the road, allowing it to spew out harmful levels of emissions.