Volkswagen will seek damages from former executives accused in emissions fraud.

Volkswagen said on Friday that it would seek financial compensation from its former chief executive and the former head of the Audi division, accusing them of failing to act after learning that diesel vehicles sold in the United States were fitted with illegal emissions-cheating software.

The decision by the German carmaker’s supervisory board marks a turnabout. Volkswagen had been reluctant to publicly accuse former top managers of complicity in the emissions fraud, which has cost Volkswagen tens of billions of euros in fines, settlements and legal fees.

At the same time, the supervisory board said it found “no breaches of duty” by other executives who were members of Volkswagen’s management board in September 2015, when the scandal came to light.

That group includes Herbert Diess, now the chief executive of Volkswagen, who had joined the company two months earlier from BMW. Hans Dieter Pötsch, now chairman of the supervisory board, was chief financial officer and a member of the Volkswagen management board at the time, a position he had held for more than a decade.

Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive, failed “to comprehensively and promptly clarify the circumstances behind the use of unlawful software functions” after learning about the misconduct in July 2015.

Mr. Winterkorn, who resigned shortly after the emissions fraud became public, also failed to ensure that questions by U.S. authorities “were answered truthfully, completely and without delay,” the supervisory board said. Shareholders suffered damages as a result, the board said, although it did not say how much money the company will try to recover.

Mr. Winterkorn’s lawyers said in a statement Friday that he denied the accusations and had done everything possible “to avoid or minimize damage” to Volkswagen.

The Volkswagen board said it also concluded that Rupert Stadler, former chief executive of the Audi luxury car division, was negligent because he failed to investigate the use of illegal software in diesel vehicles sold in the European Union.

Mr. Winterkorn and Mr. Stadler face criminal charges in Germany that revolve around the same circumstances. Mr. Winterkorn’s trial was scheduled to begin in April, but judges in the case postponed it this week until September, citing the pandemic.

Mr. Stadler has been on trial in Munich since last year on charges that, even after the wrongdoing came to light, he allowed Audi to continue selling cars that were programmed to recognize when an official emissions test was underway and dial up emissions controls to make the car appear compliant. The cars were not capable of consistently meeting pollution standards.

Mr. Stadler’s lawyer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. In the past, Mr. Stadler has denied wrongdoing.

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Canada Supreme Court Rules Federal Carbon Tax Is Constitutional

OTTAWA — In a decision that marked an important victory for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s climate change agenda, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that the federal government’s imposition of carbon taxes in provinces that oppose them was constitutional.

Citing Parliament’s power to legislate on matters related to “peace, order and good government,” the court said that fighting climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions was a matter of “national concern” protected under the Constitution.

“This matter is critical to our response to an existential threat to human life in Canada and around the world,” the court wrote in its 6-to-3 decision. “Climate change is real. It is caused by greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activities and it poses a grave threat to humanity’s future.”

The concept of carbon pricing has been widely endorsed by economists and, according to the World Bank, some form of it has been carried out or is in development in 64 countries, either through direct taxes on fossil fuels or through cap-and-trade programs.

notably California. Money and tax credits to address climate change are expected to underpin much of President Biden’s coming spending proposals, which aides and documents suggest could cost as much as $4 trillion over the next decade.

But several people familiar with the forthcoming infrastructure package in the United States said that there are no plans currently to price carbon emissions. Instead, the president plans to greatly raise fuel efficiency standards for cars, forcing automakers toward electric vehicles through regulation, not legislation. Similarly, Mr. Biden plans to reimpose strict emissions regulations on electric power plants to move the sector away from coal.

Republicans in Congress remain firmly opposed to a carbon tax and have voted repeatedly and nearly unanimously over the years to bar the government from imposing one.

Parliament’s budget watchdog found that most households are paid more in rebates than they spend on carbon taxes. Households can boost that bonus by further cutting emissions by using more efficient or electric vehicles or improving their heating systems.

Jason Kenney, the premier of Alberta, who canceled his province’s program, told reporters that he was disappointed with the decision but declined to say if his province will come up with a carbon pricing system to replace the federally imposed one. “We’re going to consult with Albertans and talk to our allied provinces to determine the best way forward,” he said.

The Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the law in part because the federal plan only kicks in if provinces do not set up their programs, thus maintaining the shared jurisdiction the two levels of government hold on environmental issues.

It also concluded that setting a single national minimum price for carbon is necessary for effectively reducing greenhouse gases, or GHGs, which makes federal involvement essential

“Addressing climate change requires collective national and international action,” the court wrote. “This is because the harmful effects of GHGs are, by their very nature, not confined by borders.”

Lisa Friedman contributed reporting from Washington, D.C.

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How Volkswagen’s Sins Fueled Its Redemption

Christian Strenger, a vocal Volkswagen critic and a former member of the commission that wrote Germany’s corporate governance code, sees little chance the company’s overseers will expose themselves to more scrutiny. The supervisory board has only one member out of 20 who is not a representative of the three main shareholders or Volkswagen employees.

“Nothing will change as long as the old guard is there,” Mr. Strenger said.

The diesel scandal remains a financial burden. The company disclosed in its annual report this week that potential liabilities from lawsuits, such as one by shareholders claiming the company misled them, could cost 4.2 billion euros, or $5 billion. That is in addition to the tens of billions of euros Volkswagen has already paid in fines and settlements since 2017 after admitting that it programmed diesel cars to produce lower emissions in testing conditions than in normal use.

Investors this week were focusing on Volkswagen’s future rather than its past.

In a series of appearances starting Monday, Mr. Diess and other executives outlined a 35 billion plan to build six battery factories, install a global network of charging stations and employ 10,000 software engineers to work on autonomous driving and other new technologies. Volkswagen would become the biggest software company in Europe after SAP, the German maker of software used by corporations to manage functions like logistics and finance.

Volkswagen’s voting shares ended the week up 20 percent in Frankfurt trading and have risen 75 percent since December, despite the company’s reporting a 37 percent drop in net profit for 2020 after the pandemic gutted sales. Since 2015, the shares have more than tripled.

Volkswagen also benefited from a report issued this month by analysts at UBS, the Swiss bank, which rated it as the traditional carmaker best positioned to compete with Tesla because it already has the ability to mass-produce electric cars economically.

Volkswagen’s advantage goes back to the decision made at that meeting in 2015, weeks after the emissions scandal became public.

The executives authorized development of a collection of mix-and-match components that would serve as the basis for a range of electric models including sedans, S.U.V.s and vans. The standardized platform, called the Modular Electrification Toolbox, could also be used by other company brands, including Audi.

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