(Reuters) – A federal judge on Friday sharply questioned the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on the timing of its civil suit filed in March accusing Volkswagen AG of defrauding investors and demanded the agency explain its rationale.
Volkswagen was caught using illegal software to cheat U.S. pollution tests in 2015, triggering a global backlash against diesel vehicles that has so far cost it 29 billion euros.
Status - Conference - Friday - San - Francisco
At a status conference on Friday in San Francisco, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer questioned the SEC’s “lateness” in suing VW more than two years after the company settled the Justice Department’s criminal probe, pleading guilty to three felonies and paying $4.3 billion in penalties.
“My basic question is what took you so long,” Breyer said, adding he was “totally mystified” why the SEC waited until 2019.
Person - Matter - SEC - Subpoena - VW
A person briefed on the matter said the SEC served its first formal subpoena on VW in January 2017 and issued a formal Wells notice in June 2018.
“I want to remind you that the symbol of the SEC is the symbol right up there, of the eagle. It’s not a carrion hawk that simply descends when everything is all over and sees what it can get from the defendant,” Breyer said.
Daniel - Hayes - Lawyer - SEC - Breyer
Daniel Hayes, a lawyer for the SEC, told Breyer the agency “moved as quickly...
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