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February 4, 2017

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Former VW CEO knew about emissions

VOLKSWAGEN’S former supervisory board chief has told German investigators that ex-CEO Martin Winterkorn knew about the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scam well before the scandal broke, news weekly Der Spiegel said.

“Ferdinand Piech has incriminated the group’s former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn with a detailed statement to prosecutors,” the German magazine reported yesterday.

The report claims Piech told prosecutors that he himself learned from an informant in February 2015 that the company had a “big problem” in the United States.

The source told Piech that US authorities were looking into its use of manipulating software to dupe pollution tests and had passed on their suspicions to VW.

Piech then asked Winterkorn about it, who assured him that no such document from US officials existed, according to Der Spiegel.

VW admitted in September 2015 that it had installed so-called defeat devices in 11 million diesel engines worldwide to make the cars seem less polluting than they were. Winterkorn resigned days after the admission but has always insisted he knew nothing of the scam before it became public knowledge.

Prosecutors in the German city of Brunswick however announced last week that they were investigating Winterkorn for fraud, saying they had “sufficient indications” he knew about the cheating earlier than he has admitted.

Der Spiegel claimed Piech gave his damning testimony when he was questioned by the prosecutors last year. Piech, 79, is the grandson of the inventor of the iconic Beetle, the model on which VW’s fortune was built.


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