Former Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech Now Refusing To Testify About Lower Saxony Government’s Role In Diesel Emissions Cheating Scandal

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Ferdinand Piech, formerly the Chairman of Volkswagen group (until mid-2015), recently made some interesting comments seemingly implicating the Prime Minister of the German state of Lower Saxony (the second largest stakeholder in VW), amongst others, in the diesel emissions testing cheating scandal.

Specifically, Piech’s comments asserted that he informed the Lower Saxony Prime Minister as well as other members of the supervisory board’s steering committee of concerns about possibly illegally high emissions in relation to the company’s diesel vehicles all the way back in March 2015 — well before the scandal went public in September. This was before he was ousted as the chairman in a power struggle with the former chief executive Martin Winterkorn.

In relation to the assertions by Piech, the chairman of the parliamentary committee that’s investigating the company’s “emissions irregularities,” Herbert Behrens, has commented that a testimony from Piech is now needed to clarify things.

Piech, though, is now reportedly refusing to testify on the matter — through his lawyer, Gerhard Strate. This follows a seeming threat of lawsuit from the VW board for the claims mentioned above, which board members say are not true.

Reuters provides more:

“Behrens didn’t return calls seeking comment while fellow committee member Oliver Krischer, a Green Party lawmaker, criticized the refusal to testify.”

“‘This of course damages the (VW) brand and the entire German auto industry if those involved, even if they no longer belong to the company, do not manage to draw a line and clear the air,’ Krischer told broadcasting network Deutschlandfunk.

“The eight-member cross-party committee will question Weil and Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt over the scandal on Thursday. The panel was set up last April to clarify whether Germany’s federal government and regulators were involved in VW’s emissions manipulations or failed to contribute towards their disclosure. Last month it questioned Winterkorn, who denied early knowledge of the cheating.”

For more information on the scandal see:

Image by Volkswagen

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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