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Ex-VW head knew about emissions scandal

dpa logodpa 15/01/2017

Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn knew about the company's emissions scandal two months earlier than previously stated, according to a report in Germany.

Former Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn knew about the company's emissions scandal two months earlier than previously stated, accoridng to a report in Germany's the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

Citing confidential documents, the newspaper said Winterkorn was presented with evidence in July 2015 that the German carmaker was using special software to manipulate diesel exhaust readings in order to cheat environmental rules.

Winterkorn has always maintained he did not know about the issue until September 2015, shortly before resigning.

Bild am Sonntag said Winterkorn had denied the new allegations and could only recall a brief discussion on July 27, 2015 where he was told that problems with emissions in the United States were being solved.

One of the participants in the July 2015 meeting told the newspaper: "We talked about something illegal being installed in our cars."

Europe's largest carmaker had already referenced this meeting in a German court in early 2016.

A statement then said: "It is not possible to reconstruct the detailed content of this informal discussion, nor the specific times at which the respective members of the executive board were involved."

A Volkswagen spokesman said this weekend: "To this day, nothing important has changed."

Other German media outlets reported on Saturday that Volkswagen officials had told investigators they had spoken with a close aide to Winterkorn as far back as 2012 and 2014 about the scandal and assumed the issue would be passed onto the chief executive.

On Wednesday, the US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Volkswagen will admit guilt and pay $US4.3 billion dollars in criminal and civil settlements to the US government over the diesel emissions scandal.

She also announced the indictment of six current and former high-ranking Volkswagen personnel for crimes including conspiracy to defraud the US, violations of environmental laws, and wire fraud.

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