Volkswagen top bosses knew of the existence of the cheating emissions devices two weeks before the scandal erupted publically, according to the German weekly Bild am Sonntag.
The Bild am Sonntag newspaper reported a week ago that the ex-chief of Europe’s biggest automaker, Martin Winterkorn, knew about the company’s emissions manipulation scheme two weeks before the scandal came to public attention. A new report from the German weekly now shows that Winterkorn briefed the current chairman and chief executive about VW’s admission in front of the US regulators. The former CEO told the board about the “predicament” on September 8, at a meeting also attended by then-finance chief Hans Dieter Poetsch and then-chief executive of Porsche, Matthias Mueller, according to Bild am Sonntag. The new revelations come at a time when the automaker is facing a lawsuit filed by shareholders in Germany who are claiming that if VW had come upfront earlier than it did, it would have stopped the big drop in shares prices to some extent.
“Volkswagen is convinced to have fully complied with the requirements set out in the securities law,” a spokesman said in an emailed response to Reuters. “Volkswagen categorically declines comment on contents of management board meetings.” In an extensive statement released last week regarding the emissions scandal, Volkswagen declared shareholder lawsuit to be without merit, as “stock price relevance occurred only as of 18 September 2015 when the violation of US environmental regulations was announced,” the company defended. “Until then, there were no indications whatsoever of information with relevance for the stock price.” Europe’s largest automaker has committed to publish results of an investigation into the scandal in the second half of April.