The former Volkswagen chief executive has been charged in the US with conspiring to mislead regulators leading to the diesel emissions scandal in 2015.
The charges against Martin Winterkorn (pictured) were revealed yesterday for his part in the manufacturer's attempts to cheat the emissions tests of its diesel vehicles.
He was also charged with wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act through Volkswagen's use of an illegal device to cheat US emissions test.
In a statement, US attorney general Jess Sessions said: "The indictment unsealed today alleged that Volkswagen's scheme to cheat its legal requirements went all the way to the top of the company.
"These are serious allegations, and we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law."
Winterkorn resigned after the scandal came to light in September 2015.
He is the ninth person to face criminal charges in the US in connection to the scandal. Two have already pleaded guilty and have been jailed.