(AGI) Rome, Sept 23 - Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn hasresigned following the emission cheating scandal. He said hewas "clearing the way for a fresh start". He was stunned bythe events of the last few days and astounded thatirregularities of such proportions were possible withinVolkswagen. He denied he was involved in any way in theemissions cheating scandal that has overwhelmed the carmaker.He was not aware of having done anything illegal and he hopedthe process of clarification and transparency would continue.The German government said it was unaware of the irregularitiesreported over the last few hours, and the European Union hasasked all member states to open inquiries into their markets.Shares in the group rebounded to 7 per cent after plummeting 8per cent on opening on Wednesday. VW spent more than 25 billioneuros supporting its market capitalisation over two days.National authorities are responsible for checks on emissionsfrom car engines and must carry out rigorous controls, saidBrussels. EC spokesperson Lucia Caudet said the commissionwould discuss coordinating the inquiries with member states and exchange information. They were pleased that investigationshad already begun in Germany, France and Italy, she said.Minister for Economic Development Federica Guidi has called forclarity over the scandal and possible repercussions. Thescandal over the rigged devices that falsify test results,which was discovered in cars sold in the U.S., has shakenconsumer confidence on the reliability of the VW brand. Americahas opened a criminal investigation. The European AutomobileManufacturers Association said there was no proof this was a"sector-wide problem". There is widespread concern that thescandal could put a spanner in the works of the Europeaneconomy, which is undergoing a slow recovery. The head ofConfindustria, the General Confederation of Italian Industry,Giorgio Squinzi, said there was concern "because what hashappened is extremely serious. The figures doing the rounds areastounding. We have many VW and Audi subcontractors and I hopethis will not send too many violent shockwaves through thesecompanies." (AGI). .