The Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday defended the pace of its investigation into Volkswagen Group after a judge asked why the agency waited two years after a global scandal related to vehicle emissions to sue the automaker.
The SEC filed a civil suit in March accusing Volkswagen and former CEO Martin Winterkorn of defrauding investors in U.S. bond offerings.
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 30 billion euros ($33.65 billion) in fines, penalties and buyback costs. In May, it set aside an additional 5.5 billion euros ($6.2 billion) in contingent liabilities.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in May questioned the SEC’s “lateness” in suing VW more than two years after the German automaker settled the U.S. Justice Department’s criminal probe, pleading guilty to three felonies and paying $4.3 billion in penalties.
“My basic question is what took…