BERLIN -- Volkswagen AG's bill for cheating on diesel emissions could potentially top 30 billion euros ($35 billion) as a legal battle with thousands of investors heats up in the German carmaker's own backyard.
A court in the town of Braunschweig, just over 20 miles from VW's Wolfsburg headquarters, has scheduled a series of hearings starting on Monday in a case combining claims by some 4,000 shareholders demanding $10.4 billion in compensation.
They argue VW failed to warn them soon enough about an investigation by U.S. regulators, who triggered a collapse in the stock after they announced their diesel probe three years ago.
Enraged shareholders filed the first cases in October 2015. A year later, a wave of institutional investors followed, among them BlackRock Inc., the California Public Employees' Retirement System and Allianz Global Investors. The proceedings were moved to the Braunschweig civic center to make space for the hordes of lawyers as well as investors who want to attend.
Volkswagen admitted in late 2015 that it rigged diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests in the U.S. and that about 11 million worldwide could be affected. VW has calculated the scandal's overall financial impact at $31.7 billion. That includes payouts to U.S. customers, states and regulators and a $1.16 billion settlement with German prosecutors.