Whistleblower System

• Our Whistleblower System

Complying with statutory regulations and internal rules, and the principles laid down in our Code of Conduct and the Code of Conduct for Business Partners, has top priority at Volkswagen Digital Solutions. The success of our company is based on Integrity and Compliance. To meet these standards, it is important to learn of potential employee or supplier misconduct and to put a stop to it. Therefore, we entrusted the Central Investigation Office to operate an independent, impartial and confidential Whistleblower System on our behalf.

A key pillar of our Whistleblower System is the principle of procedural fairness. It also guarantees the greatest possible protection for whistleblowers, persons implicated and employees contributing to the investigation of reported misconduct.

This also includes offering opportunities for anonymous reporting and communication. We assure not to perform any steps in order to identify anonymous whistleblowers, who do not misuse our Whistleblower System. Retaliation of whistleblowers and all persons who contribute to investigations at Volkswagen Digital Solutions will not be tolerated. Persons implicated are presumed innocent until the violation is proven. Investigations will be conducted with the utmost confidentiality. The information will be processed in a fair, fast and protected process.

How do we process your report?

The qualified and experienced colleagues at the Investigation Office examine every report for potential misconduct by a Volkswagen Group employee thoroughly and follow it up systematically.  First, you will get a confirmation of receipt. The Investigation Office then assesses your report. This includes gathering facts particularly from the whistleblower. Only if this initial evaluation shows grounds for suspicion of a violation an investigation by a dedicated Investigating Unit will be started. Afterwards, the results of the investigation will be assessed by the Investigation Office and appropriate measures will be recommended. Information about the status* and the outcome of the procedure will be given to you without undue delay.

Potential violations of the Code of Conduct for Business Partners by suppliers, including serious risks and violations of human rights and environment by direct and indirect suppliers, can also be reported to the Investigation Office –  as well as reports requiring otherwise immediate action. The Investigation Office will inform the responsible departments, who will process the issue accordingly. This particularly includes taking the necessary measures to minimize or end violations and/or risks.

Find more information on the procedural principles of the Volkswagen Group Complaints Procedure here

* The processing time varies depending on the subject of the procedure

• Do you have any concern or feedback regarding a Volkswagen Digital Solutions product or service?

If you have any questions or inquiries regarding Volkswagen Digital Solutions, feedback or complaints about services provided by Volkswagen Digital Solutions or our business partners, please contact us though our general contacts. We kindly ask for your understanding that the Whistleblower System unfortunately cannot process customer complaints.

• Making a report to our Whistleblower System

The Whistleblower System offers various channels to report potential employee misconduct that allow a swift review and reaction by our company if necessary. 

However, this does not affect the statutory right to contact designated authorities as described below.

24/7 Hotline:

You can make a report at 365 days, 24 hours, using the international toll-free number:
+800 444 46300*.

If your local telephone provider does not support the toll-free service, you can call the following chargeable number:
+49 5361 946300.

*Depending on the country you are calling from it is possible that the international toll-free hotline is not available since some telephone network providers do not support the service. If so, please use the offered chargeable number or your country specific number:

CountryToll Free NumberLocal Number
Brazil0800-5912743021-23911381
Mexico001-800-46102420155-71000355
Slovak Republic0800-00257602-33325602
USA833-6571574908-2198092
South Africa0800-994983021-1003533
Malaysia1-800-8195230154-600099
Argentina0800-6662992011-52528632
Germany0800 444 4630005361-946300

Online Reporting Channel:

You have the option of using a web-based communication platform to contact the Investigation Office in many languages. This system is confidential and technically secured.

Even if your preferred language is not offered in the reporting channel, you can use any language to submit your report. You can also contact the Investigation Office in any language via e-mail or mail.

Here is the platform’s link

Ombudspersons:

External lawyers were appointed by the Volkswagen Group to act as Ombudspersons. They advise on the Whistleblower System or ensure that reports from whistleblowers are forwarded anonymously to the Investigation Office if desired.

If you want to get in contact with the Ombudsperson you can find their contact details here.

E-mail: You can get in contact with the Investigation Office of via e-mail: io@volkswagen.de

Postal address: Central Investigation Office
Box 1717
38436 Wolfsburg Germany

In person: Please make an appointment in advance by writing an e-mail to io@volkswagen.de.                                       

• Do you have any questions?

Questions or suggestions for improvement concerning the Whistleblower System can also be addressed to the Investigation Office.

If you have been interviewed in terms of an investigation, you have the possibility to give feedback to the Ombudsperson as independent body.

Furthermore, our local Compliance Responsible function ​can also be addressed in all matters of the Whistleblower System via compliance@vwds.pt.

Protection of Whistleblowers – Portuguese legal landscape

In compliance with Law No. 93/2021 of December 2021 (General Regime for the Protection of Whistleblowers – “RGPDI”)

1. Legal framework

1.1​. Offences covered

For the purposes of RGPDI, an offence/infringement shall be considered:

(a) the act or omission contrary to rules contained in the Acts of the European Union referred to in the Annex to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and the Council, to national rules which carry out, transpose or comply with such acts or any other rules contained in legislative acts implementing or transposing them, including those which provide for crimes or offences, relating to the areas of:
(i) public procurement;
(ii) financial services, products and markets and the prevention of money laundering and terrorist financing;
(iii) product safety and conformity;
(iv) transport safety;
(v) environmental protection;
(vi) radiation protection and nuclear safety;
(vii) food and animal safety, animal health and animal welfare;
(viii) public health;
(ix) consumer protection;
(x) protection of the privacy and personal data and network security and IT systems;

(b) the act or omission contrary to and in which the financial interests of the European Union referred to in Article 325 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), as specified in the applicable EU measures;

(c) the act or omission contrary to the internal market rules referred to in Article 26(2) TFEU, including competition and State aid rules, as well as corporate taxation rules;

(d) violent, especially violent and highly organized crime, as well as the crimes provided for in Article 1(1) of Law No 5/2002 of 11 January, which lays down measures to combat organized and economic-financial crime; and

(e) an act or omission contrary to the end of the rules or standards covered by points (a) to (c).

In the areas of national defense and security, an act or omission contrary to the contracting rules contained in the Acts of the European Union referred to in Part I.A of the Annex to Directive (EU) 2019/1937 of the European Parliament and the Council, is considered to be an infringement of only for the purposes of this Law, or contrary to the purposes of those rules.

1.2​. Object of report or public disclosure

The report or public disclosure may have as its object infringements committed, which are being committed or which can reasonably be foreseen, as well as attempts to conceal such offences.

1.3​. Definition of Whistleblower

A natural person who publicly denounces or discloses an infringement on the basis ofinformation obtained in the course of his professional activity, regardless of the nature of that activity and the sector in which it is carried out, shall be considered a whistleblower.

Thus, whistleblowers can be:
• Private, social or public sector workers;
• Service providers, contractors, subcontractors and suppliers, as well as any persons who act under their supervision and direction;
• Holders of shareholdings and persons belonging to management or management bodies or tax or supervisory bodies of legal persons, including non-executive members;
• Volunteers and trainees, paid or unpaid,

Regardless of whether the professional relationship has, however, ended during the recruitment process or during another pre-contractual negotiation phase of a constituted or not constituted professional relationship, the above-mentioned may be considered whistleblowers.

The whistleblower who, in good faith and on a serious basis for believing that the information is, at the time of the report or public disclosure, true, publicly denounces or discloses an infringement in accordance with the terms set out in the RGPDI, benefits from the protection conferred by RGPDI.

The anonymous whistleblower who is subsequently identified benefits from the protection conferred by law, provided that it meets the conditions set out above.

This protection is further extended, with appropriate adaptations, to:
• A natural person who assists the whistleblower in the whistleblowing procedure and whose assistance must be confidential, including trade union representatives or workers’ representatives;
• Third party who is connected to the whistleblower, including a co-employee or family member, and may be retaliated against in a professional context; and
• Legal persons or similar entities that are owned or controlled by the whistleblower, for whom the whistleblower works or with whom he is in any way connected in a professional context.

1.4​. Rights and Warranties

The identity of the whistleblower, as well as information that, directly or indirectly, allows to deduce his identity, is confidential in nature and is restricted to the persons responsible for receiving or following up on complaints.

The obligation of confidentiality referred to in the preceding paragraph extends to those who have received information about complaints, even if not responsible or incompetent for their receipt and treatment.

The identity of the whistleblower is only disclosed as a result of legal obligation or judicial decision.

The processing of personal data under this Law, including the exchange or transmission of personal data by the competent authorities, observes the provisions of the General Data Protection Regulation, which approves the rules on the processing of personal data for the purpose of preventing, detaining, investigating or re-investigating criminal offences or the execution of criminal penalties.

Personal data which are clearly not relevant to the processing of the complaint are not kept and are immediately deleted. However, Volkswagen Digital Solutions Unipessoal, Lda reserves the duty to maintain reports presented verbally, when such conservation is made by recording the communication on a lasting and recoverable medium.

1.5​. Protection of the Whistleblower

The measures legally provided for to protect the whistleblower are:
•​Prohibition of engaging in acts of retaliation; and
•​Support measures.

Acts of retaliation or omission are those that, directly or indirectly, occurring in a professional context and motivated by an internal, external or public disclosure complaint, cause or may cause the whistleblower, in an unjustified manner, property or non-property damage.

The following are presumed as acts of retaliation, until proven otherwise, when practiced up to two years after the denunciation or public disclosure:
a) Changes in working conditions, such as functions, hours, place of work or retribution, non-promotion of the employee or non-performance of employment duties;
b) Suspension of employment contract;
c) Negative performance assessment or negative reference for employment purposes;
d) Non conversion of a fixed-term employment contract into a permanent contract when the employee had legitimate expectations for that conversion;
e) Non-renewal of a fixed-term employment contract;
f) Dismissal;
g) Inclusion in a list, on the basis of a sectoral agreement, which may lead to the inability of the whistleblower to find employment in the sector or industry concerned in the future;
h) Resolution of the supply contract or the provision of services;
i) Revocation of an administrative contract or act, as defined in accordance with the Code of Administrative Procedure.

The disciplinary penalty imposed on the whistleblower up to two years after the complaint or public disclosure is presumed abusive.

The threats and attempts of acts and omissions referred to in the preceding paragraph are also seen as acts of retaliation.

Support measures are particularly the right to legal protection.

2. Submission of a report

2.1​. Anonymity

Internal reporting channels allow the safe submission and follow-up of complaints in order to ensure the completeness, integrity and retention of the complaint, the confidentiality of the identity or anonymity of whistleblowers and the confidentiality of the identity of third parties mentioned in the complaint, and to prevent the access of unauthorized persons.

2.2​. Reporting channels

Reports of infractions are filed by the whistleblower through internal or external reporting channels or publicly disclosed.

The RGPDI focuses on internal reports, so the whistleblower can only publicly disclose an infringement and/or use external reporting channels in certain circumstances, listed in the law, as follows:

External reporting channels:

The whistleblower may only use external reporting channels when:
(a) There is no internal reporting channel;
(b) The internal reporting channel admits only the submission of reports by employees, when the whistleblower is not one;
(c) They have reasonable grounds to believe that the infringement cannot be effectively known or resolved internally or that there is a risk of retaliation;
(d) They have initially lodged an internal complaint without having been informed of the measures envisaged or adopted following the complaint within the time limits laid down in Article 11 of the RGPDI; or, 
(e) The offence constitutes a crime or of misdemeanor punishable by a fine of more than EUR 50 000.

Public disclosure:

The whistleblower may publicly disclose an infringement only when they: 
(a) have reasonable grounds to believe that the infringement may constitute an imminent or manifest danger to the public interest, that the infringement cannot be effectively known or resolved by the competent authorities, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case, or that there is a risk of retaliation even in the event of an external complaint; or 
(b) have submitted an internal complaint and an external complaint, or directly an external complaint in accordance with this Law, without appropriate measures being taken within the time limits laid down in Articles 11 and 15 of the RGPDI.

We warn the following: The natural person who, outside the cases provided for, reports an infringement to the media or journalists, does not benefit from the protection conferred by the RGPDI, without prejudice to the applicable rules on journalistic secrecy and protection of sources.

2.3​. Internal Reporting Channels

Volkswagen Digital Solutions Unipessoal, Lda offers multiple channels of internal complaint:

Local Recipient:
A. Written complaint
•​By e-mail to compliance@vwds.pt 
•​By postal mail, in a sealed envelope and with the signs “Do not open” and “A/C: Department of Integrity, Risk Management & Compliance”, to the following address: Rua do Sol ao Rato 11, 1250-261 Lisboa

B. Verbal denunciation, through face-to-face meeting, which can be requested via the contacts mentioned above.

Recipient: Whistleblower System of the Volkswagen Group (Central Investigation Department) – You can find the contacts above.

2.4. ​Internal Reporting Channels – guarantees

Any of the internal reporting contacts listed above ensure scant reporting and follow-up, preventing unauthorized persons from accessing them. Internal reporting channels with local recipientare fully managed by the Integrity, Risk Management & Compliance department of Volkswagen Digital Solutions, Unipessoal Lda. 

In turn, the Volkswagen Group Whistleblower System is managed by the Group’s Central Investigation Department.

Therefore, we guarantee an independent, impartial and confidential reporting system.

3. Handling reports

3.1​. Handling internal reports

After receiving an internal complaint, Volkswagen Digital Solutions Unipessoal, Ldanotifies the whistleblower of the receipt, within seven days. At that time, the whistleblower will be informed, in a clear and accessible manner, of the requirements, competent authorities and form and admissibility of the external complaint.

Following the complaint, Volkswagen Digital Solutions Unipessoal, Lda will carry out the internal acts appropriate to the verification of the allegations and, where appropriate, to the cessation of the alleged infringement, including by opening an internal investigation or by communicating the competent authority for investigating the infringement, including the institutions, bodies, or agencies of the European Union.

Finally, Volkswagen Digital Solutions Unipessoal, Lda will communicate to the complainant the measures provided for or taken to follow up on the complaint and its reasoning, no later than three months from the date of receipt of the complaint.

3.2​. Handling external reports

External complaints are submitted to authorities which, in accordance with their tasks and competences, must handle the matter at issue in the report, including:
•​The Public Prosecutor’s Office;
•​Criminal police bodies;
•​Banco de Portugal;
•​Independent administrative authorities;
•​Public institutes;
•​General inspections and similar entities and other central services of the direct administration of the State with administrative autonomy;
•​Local authorities; and
•​Public associations.

These entities shall follow the procedures applicable to them by law.