Ex-Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech resigned after a showdown with former CEO Martin Winterkorn and has refused to testify to German lawmakers investigating a possible government role in the VW emissions scandal, according to his lawyer.
Piech, also VW’s former CEO who spearheaded the automaker’s global expansion, gave testimony to lawyers of U.S. law firm Jones Day last April and to German prosecutors in Brunswick near VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters in December, his lawyer said.
“These comments were solely directed at the inquirers of Jones Day and the prosecutors respectively. They were not directed at the public media,” Piech’s Hamburg-based lawyer, Gerhard Strate, said in a statement.
He said Piech has no intention “to comment in public on what is being circulated as the alleged content of the questioning.”
A German media report earlier this last week said Piech had informed top directors at VW about potential cheating with diesel emissions tests in the United States six months before the scandal became public in September 2015. Piech has not commented on the report by Bild am Sonntag.
The unsourced report said Piech raised the issue with Winterkorn and subsequently informed members of the supervisory board’s steering committee in March 2015 – a month before Piech was ousted as chairman.
The EU officials are concerned about the slow implementation of emissions regulations by a number of member states who wanted to minimise costs to their major car makers.