BERLIN (Germany): Top Volkswagen officials knew about the company’s “dieselgate” emissions-cheating software at least on a monthly basis before they promise to own discovered the scandal, German media reported on Tuesday.
VW looks set to be charged US$4.3 billion (4.1 billion euros) to settle an american criminal case after admitting to fitting out 11 million diesel cars worldwide with software that reduces emissions under testing to secure controls, and then switches off under real driving conditions.
That meant they released up to 40 times the permitted pollution levels.
Previously, VW claimed that former group chairman Martin Winterkorn was merely informed about the difficulty at the end of August to early September 2015, previous to the scandal started in September 2015.
But newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung and regional tv stations NDR and WDR claimed that two “crucial witnesses” have told US investigators that both Winterkorn and current group chairman Herbert Diess knew about the circumvention software “through the end of July 2015”.
“The administrators took no measures to see American authorities about these manipulations”, wrote Sueddeutsche Zeitung on its website.
Of the up to 11 million vehicles affected, 600,000 were in the states alone.
Although Volkswagen admitted to installing the program, Winterkorn denied responsibility.
According to German media, on the list of two witnesses was their heads in the manufacturer’s diesel service and told US authorities around the cheating software in August 2015.
Despite the scandal, VW Group – like the brands Audi, Porsche and Skoda – said it had sold a completely new record 10.3 million cars worldwide not too long ago.
The latest revelations came just 1 day right after a former Volkswagen executive was faced with fraud and conspiracy.
Oliver Schmidt, who ran VW’s US regulatory compliance office from 2012 to March 2015, is charged with lying to all of us regulators.
Volkswagen has already settled civilian charges relevant to the scandal, acknowledging a US$14.7 billion payment enabling nearly 500,000 vehicle keepers to sell back their cars or get them fixed.