Additionally, the company is widening its suspensions of others in the engineering department, the Wall Street Journal says. The wider net was spurred by recommendations by US-based law firm Jones Day. Volkswagen has declined to comment on the moves.
The company's engineering department is now in the spotlight as global regulators continue to try to assign blame for the scandal, which broke last month. Volkswagen has said that as many as 11 million of its diesel vehicles may have been programmed with software designed to cheat emissions-testing systems, and the company had set aside $7.3 billion to address the fallout, but some estimates put the total cost to VW at $87 billion. Last week, reports surfaced that the number of people involved in the scandal may have totaled fewer than 10 engineers, down from the approximately 30 people previously thought to have a role in the plan.
Among casualties from the scandal was former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned last month after eight years on the job. Recent reports say that he knew nothing about the illegal software until just days before the news became public knowledge. The company named former head of Porsche Matthias Muller as Winterkorn's successor. VW at the time said that there would be massive corporate restructuring throughout the company.