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25 August 2017

VW’s Former CEO Reportedly Knew of Diesel Cheating in July 2015

Report says Winterkorn was aware at least as early as July

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It’s been almost two years since news broke that Volkswagen had installed emissions-cheating software on thousands of diesel vehicles. But while that information didn’t come out until September of 2015, the latest report suggests the chief executive was told at least as early as July of that year.

Reuters reports that one of Volkswagen’s former senior quality managers has informed investigators that on July 27, he personally told Martin Winterkorn, Volkswagen’s then-CEO, that the automaker had cheated U.S. emissions tests. Previously, Volkswagen had said its executives didn’t know about the illegal software until late August. Winterkorn resigned shortly after news of the scandal broke, and was the subject of a criminal investigation in 2016.

The scandal that unfolded has cost Volkswagen billions and led to the conviction of one former executive. And while the German automaker has already agreed to fix or buy back hundreds of thousands of dirty diesels, we still don’t know exactly who knew about the cheating and when they found out. As Reuters points out, this information is also relevant to a lawsuit brought by investors who believe executives withheld market-sensitive information.

In January of this year, Winterkorn refused to tell investigators when he first found out about the cheating but insisted it was no earlier than Volkswagen’s official story suggested. This quality manager’s claim suggests Winterkorn knew at least a month earlier.

Whether this news will have any impact on Volkswagen’s settlements with various regulators, though, has yet to be seen.

Source: Reuters

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