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Martin Winterkorn Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been charged with serious fraud and breach of trust in Germany.  (Photo: Rolf Schulten/Bloomberg)

Former Volkswagen AG head Martin Winterkorn was charged with serious fraud in Germany for his role in the diesel-rigging scandal that rocked the carmaker and cost it about 29 billion euros ($33 billion).

The former chief executive officer was accused alongside four other managers of equipping vehicles sold to customers in Europe and the U.S. with a so-called defeat device, authorities in Braunschweig said Monday in an emailed statement.

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