handelsblatt exclusive Former FBI Chief Open to VW Job as Compliance Monitor

Louis Freeh said he would consider helping the carmaker comply with a U.S. Justice Department settlement over Dieselgate. He said U.S. authorities have gone too far in investigating corporations and prosecuting misconduct around the world.

Louis Freeh, former head of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, would consider working  as a Volkswagen compliance monitor in the wake of the carmaker’s settlement with the U.S. Justice Department.

“I would certainly think it over if asked. I’d surely want to speak with a lot of people about it before making any decisions,” Mr. Freeh told Handelsblatt in an interview.

VW reached a $4.3-billion settlement with the Justice Department in January over the diesel emissions scandal. As part of the settlement, VW will be on probation for three years and subject to oversight by an independent monitor.

Mr. Freeh acknowledged that he held discussions with VW’s former legal chief, Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt, in January 2016 but he wouldn’t confirm rumors that he was asked to work for the automaker as a consultant.

The former FBI chief has past experience monitoring a German automaker's settlement with U.S. authorities. In 2010, he was appointed by a U.S. court to monitor Daimler's compliance with a $185-million settlement for corruption charges.

Mr. Freeh is critical of how U.S. authorities have pursued companies in recent years. He said “the pendulum has swung too far” when it comes to compliance. The former FBI chief believes the Trump administration will roll back regulations and said he would welcome the change.

“But I think our whole idea of how we regulate financial institutions and foreign companies has to be reconsidered,” Mr. Freeh said. “The way we’re doing it today goes beyond a valid interest of U.S. authorities in companies.”


Read the full story in Wednesday's Handelsblatt Global.