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Volkswagen Shares Fall After Statement on Emissions

(FILE) Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintekorn(FILE) Volkswagen CEO Martin Wintekorn
Volkswagen doesn't know whether Winterkorn read all of his e-mail.Photograph by Sean Gallup — Getty Images

Volkswagen (VLKAY) shares fell almost 2 percent in early trading on Thursday after the carmaker said its former chief executive did not pay particular attention when he was alerted to problems with U.S. diesel emissions tests in 2014.

Europe’s biggest carmaker released its most detailed account yet late on Wednesday of the events leading up to the revelation last September that it had cheated U.S. tests, which at the time unleashed a scandal that caused the CEO’s resignation and wiped billions off its market value.

Volkswagen issued the statement to reject shareholder accusations that it did not inform them of the looming problems in time, causing them massive losses.

Shares in Volkswagen were down 1.9 percent at 113.55 euros by 0824 in morning trade in Frankfurt, putting it at the bottom of a mostly flat German market.

“VW’s firm rejection of emissions risk disclosure violations and detailed account of the sequence of events reduce — but do not remove — the risk of shareholder suit liabilities,” Exane BNP Paribas analyst Stuart Pearson wrote in a note.

He kept his “outperform” rating on the stock and raised his target price by 2 euros to 138 euros, saying Exane was trimming its legal liability estimate by 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) to 10.7 billion euros as a result.