“The public prosecutor’s office accuses the defendant of giving false testimony on January 19, 2017, as a witness before the ’emissions’ investigation committee,” they said.
Winterkorn claimed to have learnt about illegal devices installed in VW vehicles to trick emissions tests only in September 2015, when he is believed to already be aware by May that year, they said.
The issue was also raised at a crisis meeting of Volkswagen executives in July 2015, the statement said.
Winterkorn resigned in September 2015, a week after the diesel emissions scandal broke.
He is already facing trial in Germany on charges of organised commercial fraud and serious tax evasion over the case.
Separately, Volkswagen on Wednesday said it had come to a deal with Winterkorn for the former chief executive to pay the company 11.2 million euros ($14 million) in damages.
Another former board member, Rupert Stadler, will pay 4.1 million euros.
Stadler, the former head of VW’s Audi division, had been the first VW senior executive to go on trial over “dieselgate” in the fraud proceedings which opened in Munich last year.
The revelations that Volkswagen had installed devices in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide to dupe pollution tests plunged the company into a deep crisis.
It has so far cost the German car giant more than 30 billion euros in fines, legal costs and compensation.