Prosecutors drop securities case against former VW CEO

German prosecutors are setting aside a securities law case against the former CEO of Volkswagen over the company's diesel emissions scandal from 2015

The court in the city of Braunschweig said in a statement Friday that the securities case had been halted at the request of prosecutors. They did so under a legal provision that lets them put cases aside if another, more serious charge has been brought so that a conviction on the lesser change would not add substantially to the sentence.

The company paid more than 31 billion euros ($37.5 billion) in fines and court settlements and two executives went to prison in the United States. Winterkorn and several others were charged in the U.S. but he cannot be extradited under German law.

In the securities case, Winterkorn had been charged along with board chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch and current CEO Herbert Diess with violating their duty to inform investors that the company was in trouble with U.S. authorities. Diess and Poetsch were allowed to end the case by paying 4.5 million euros each.

The court said the trial of Winterkorn and four co-defendants on the fraud charges is scheduled to begin Feb. 25. German media reports indicate it could be delayed. He faces up to 10 years if convicted.