Norway's wealth fund to sue Volkswagen over emissions cheating scandal

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, says it plans to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen over the German automaker's emissions scandal.
The logo of German car maker Volkswagen near cranes of a construction site in Wolfsburg, on Nov 9, 2015.
The logo of German car maker Volkswagen near cranes of a construction site in Wolfsburg, on Nov 9, 2015.PHOTO: AFP

NORWAY (Reuters) - Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest, said on Sunday (May 15) it plans to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen AG over the German automaker's emissions scandal.

"Norges Bank Investment Management intends to join a legal action against Volkswagen arising out of that the company provided incorrect emissions data," Marthe Skaar, the fund's spokeswoman, said in a statement emailed to Reuters.

"We have been advised by our lawyers that the company's conduct gives rise to legal claims under German law. As an investor, it is our responsibility to safeguard the fund's holding in Volkswagen," Skaar added.

The legal action would take place in Germany, a separate fund spokesman told Reuters, declining to give details as to when it would happen.

The Financial Times on Sunday first reported the sovereign fund's plan to sue Volkswagen.

The US$850 billion (S$1.17 trillion) oil fund is expected in the coming weeks to join the class-action lawsuits filed against Volkswagen in German courts in the coming weeks, the newspaper said. (http://bit.ly/1TccjaL)

Volkswagen, which admitted last year that it had used sophisticated secret software in its cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests, was unavailable for comment outside regular business hours.

Norway's wealth fund said last year that Volkswagen's actions had contributed to a loss of 4.9 billion crowns (S$820 million) in the fund's second quarter.

The carmaker reached a nearly US$10 billion deal with the US government last month to buy back or fix about a half million of its diesel cars and set up environmental and consumer compensation funds.

Norway's wealth fund also recently turned up the heat on US oil companies Exxon Mobil and Chevron to do more to report on the risks of climate change.

The fund, itself built from Norway's oil and gas wealth, had also made similar demands of oil firms worldwide.