Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn told a German court on Wednesday he did not deceive investors over the carmaker's rigging of diesel engine emissions tests.

It was the first time Winterkorn has spoken about the so-called dieselgate scandal in court, more than eight years after he was forced to step down following news of the cheating.

He has previously been questioned by an investigative committee of Germany's lower house of parliament and by law firms commissioned by Volkswagen.

Winterkorn, 76, told the Higher Regional Court in Braunschweig he was not involved in decisions to install illegal defeat devices in the engines of Volkswagen diesel cars.

"I have neither requested nor encouraged this functionality, nor condoned its use," he said.

In an indictment filed in 2019, Winterkorn was accused of not informing financial markets in a timely manner about the use of defeat devices, as required by law.

The court halted the proceedings over alleged market manipulation in January 2021, saying another case against Winterkorn carried a higher penalty, but reopened them in December.

Winterkorn said in a short statement that he only found out about the problems late, and not completely.

"If I had been given a complete picture, I would not have hesitated to tackle the events directly and clarify them," he added.

(Reporting by Christina Amann; Writing by Bartosz Dabrowski Editing by Mark Potter)