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Volkswagen Managers Were Notified About Diesel Probe In May 2014: Sources

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Volkswagen Managers Were Notified About Diesel Probe In May 2014: Sources

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FRANKFURT (Reuters) – A high-ranking employee warned senior Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) managers in May 2014 that U.S. regulators might examine car engine software as part of an investigation into pollution levels, two sources familiar with the matter said on Sunday.

The warning came in the form of a letter, which was sent more than a year before the German carmaker’s public admission that its cars had been equipped with software to manipulate emission test results, the sources said, raising questions about how much senior managers knew about the scandal.

The U.S. Justice Department is suing the company for up to $46 billion for alleged violations of environmental law while regulators and prosecutors are looking to establish what role, if any, had been played by senior managers, including former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn.

Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to cheating pollution tests but has maintained that only a small number of employees were to blame and that there was no indication that board members were involved.

German newspaper Bild am Sonntag was first to report the existence of an internal letter warning senior managers about the investigation.

Citing documents from VW’s own investigation of the scandal, Bild am Sonntag said that an employee known internally as “Winterkorn’s fireman” had notified superiors about the probe.

“It can be assumed that the authorities will investigate VW systems to establish whether Volkswagen has implemented test-recognition software,” the newspaper said, citing the letter uncovered as part of an investigation by Jones Day, a law firm conducting the company’s internal investigation.

Two people familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday that they had knowledge of the Volkswagen letter but that it is not certain that Winterkorn, who resigned shortly after the scandal surfaced, had seen the letter.

The letter was sent from the carmaker’s product quality and safety department, one of the sources said.

A VW spokesman said that the company does not comment on ongoing investigations, adding that it would report on its internal inquiry in the second half of April.

Representatives for Winterkorn were not immediately available for comment.

(Reporting by Frankfurt bureau and Jan Schwartz in Hamburg; Writing by Edward Taylor and Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Alexander Ratz and David Goodman)

Photo: The logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is seen on a wheel at a showroom of Swiss car importer AMAG in Duebendorf, Switzerland February 12, 2016. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

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12 Comments

  1. Paul Bass February 16, 2016

    So, VW management knew, way back in May 2014 that:

    “It can be assumed that the authorities will investigate VW systems to establish whether Volkswagen has implemented test-recognition software,”

    their own software, RAN FALSE NUMBERS, whenever put under an EPA test. They knew about it and continued to LIE ABOUT for another 16 months!!

    If this were a person, in the US they would GO TO JAIL!

    VW you are real ashhats, thank you for your “stellar” corporate governance! I certainly will not say anything nice about VW ever again!

    Reply
    1. johninPCFL February 16, 2016

      Same corporatist crap that has always passed for “capitalism” to the raiders and polluters in the US. VW has learned their lesson well. Amazing that the only thing they missed was the LLC formation that would have protected the main corporate assets. Ah, well. They’ll all jump out into their golden parachutes and do “better” next time.

      Reply
  2. Otto Greif February 16, 2016

    This whole thing is so overblown.

    Reply
    1. Paul Bass February 16, 2016

      Yea, Right.

      Corporations can get away with murder, no consequences, yet a US citizen would go to jail, if he had written the memo? You have so little regard for human live that it’s OK for VW to cause the death of thousands? (Proven, diesel smog increases deaths in children, elderly, infirm, etc.)

      And these DEAD CHILDREN directly caused by VW LYING about their emissions, is “overblown”!? I sure hope it isn’t your child who might die because of his asthma…

      Reply
      1. Otto Greif February 16, 2016

        Deaths of thousands, you’re insane.

        Reply
        1. Paul Bass February 16, 2016

          Obviously you did not read the EPA findings, too bad.

          Reply
      2. atc333 February 18, 2016

        What you don’t understand is that every large truck you see on the highway is emitting far more pollutants than the VW Diesels do, and they are still far cleaner than earlier versions of their diesels.

        Reply
        1. Paul Bass February 18, 2016

          I DO understand that, and that is a diversion. Because trucks pollute have NO bearing on cars meeting pollution standards. Yes, truck standards are now better too. Still VW cheated causing the deaths of thousands by their diesel pollution.

          Go ahead keep supporting nazis, I will not.

          Reply
          1. atc333 February 18, 2016

            What VW did was wrong. but the reality is that if you accept your “thousands claim”, for VW Diesels, then how many hundreds of thousands have trucks killed over the years? Perhaps all long distaance trucks should be removed from highways, and most shipping of products should go by rail, which pollutes far, far less, and is much more efficient than trucks.

            Reply
          2. Paul Bass February 18, 2016

            Then you have the last mile problem.

            Again, trucks, don’t have anything to do with vw polluting with their diesel engines in their cars.

            Because power plants pollute also doesn’t have anything to do with VW LYING and causing the deaths (per all health officials worldwide) of thousands of infants and children.

            Ignore the facts, that’s your right, VW is still corrupt, and I will never say nice things about them.

            Reply
          3. atc333 February 19, 2016

            I am not ignoring the facts. What I am stating is that the problem exists everywhere, and certain sectors get a pass due to protective legislation. Power plants can be cleaned up, as can trucks, but only. if legislators have the political will to do so. Consider the major block and stall in our current congress to all the current administrations attempts to do so.

            VW is only a very small part of the problem and unlike power plants, those cars will be repaired or phased out over time.

            So, how about those hundreds of thousands of infants and children dying worldwide? Don’t they matter to you as long as they die as a result of their “sanctioned” killings by other legal polluters?

            Reply
  3. atc333 February 18, 2016

    Rather than retrofit sold diesels with corrective software and modifications to the engines, the Fed should require VW to invest those funds into developing truly clean fuel efficient vehicles at a reasonable price for the consumer. Turn this fiasco into a positive for future generations.

    Reply

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