VW eyes 10-20 people responsible for emissions rigging: source

Thu Oct 29, 2015 10:37am EDT
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By Jan Schwartz

HAMBURG (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) believes that up to around 20 people were involved in its rigging of diesel-engine emissions tests, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

A source told Reuters earlier this month that more than ten senior managers had been suspended during an internal inquiry at the German carmaker. Sources have provided the names of six suspended top managers including three brand executives.

"The number of people responsible will not be confined to a handful," the person said, declining to be identified because the matter is supposed to be confidential. "This should be a two-digit number in the range of between 10 and 20."

Europe's biggest carmaker admitted last month to cheating diesel emissions tests in the United States, triggering a crisis that has wiped more than a quarter off its stock market value, forced out its long-time chief executive and rocked both the global auto industry and German establishment.

VW's U.S. chief, Michael Horn, sparked criticism from some lawmakers earlier this month by saying he believed "a couple of software engineers" were responsible.

The number of people involved is a key issue for investors because it could affect the size of potential fines and the extent of management change at the company.

VW's internal investigation is currently focusing on as many as 40 employees involved in activities related to the manipulations, the person said.

"This includes a number of people who can be ruled out as perpetrators but who were witnesses," the person said. He did not say whether any of the individuals included board members.   Continued...

A vendor waits for customers at a Volkswagen dealership in Madrid, Spain, October 28, 2015. REUTERS/Sergio Perez