VW ex-CEO told of defeat device admission weeks before news was public: BamS

Sat Feb 27, 2016 6:24pm EST
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FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) former chief executive Martin Winterkorn was informed that the carmaker had told regulators it was using defeat devices two weeks before the scandal became public, German tabloid Bild am Sonntag reported on Sunday.

It said it was in possession of a letter sent by an unnamed manager directly to then-CEO Winterkorn on Sept. 4 that said:

"In the conversation on 03.09.2015 with the regulator CARB (California Air Resources Board), the defeat device was admitted."

Volkswagen's U.S. CEO Michael Horn told a U.S. House of Representatives hearing in October the company had told regulators on Sept. 3 it was using defeat devices.

A letter pointing to the then-CEO could lend weight to the cases of shareholders planning to sue Volkswagen for compensation for the plunge in its share price, saying VW should have told the public as soon as it became aware.

The law firm acting for Winterkorn, who resigned on Sept. 23, was not immediately reachable for comment.

A Volkswagen spokesman said the company declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.

German financial watchdog Bafin is investigating whether Volkswagen breached disclosure rules when it admitted to falsifying U.S. emissions tests in September. It said last month the probe would probably take several more months.

In parallel with investigations by various authorities, Volkswagen has hired law firm Jones Day to carry out an internal probe into identifying who ordered engineers to develop and install software designed to cheat U.S. diesel-emissions tests, and who knew.   Continued...

Martin Winterkorn gives his closing speech during the Volkswagen group night ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt, Germany, September 14, 2015.     REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach