Ever since Volkswagen's emissions-cheating scandal came out, the automaker claimed that a group of rogue engineers were the cause of the defeat devices. While it was rumored that former CEO Martin Winterkorn, who resigned shortly after the news went public, knew about the devices, there's been no evidence out in the public to back the claim up. A recent lawsuit filed by New York and Massachusetts attorneys general accuse Winterkorn and current VW CEO Matthias Müller of being aware about the devices.

According to a report by The New York Times, the suit draws on internal documents that claim Müller knew about the decision to not equip Audi vehicles with the proper equipment needed to meet US standards in 2006. The suit claims that the automaker, with Müller's go ahead, knowingly chose to install the devices onto its vehicles and is the first document that connects the executive to the ongoing scandal.

The suit also claims that more than 24 engineers and managers, including former head of engine and transmission development at VW and Audi Wolfgang Hatz, former head of development for VW Heinz-Jakob Neusser, and former head of development for Audi Ulrich Hackenberg, were involved in the scandal. Due to Germany's privacy laws, the country's prosecutors have only named Winterkorn as a suspect.

The suit also gives credibility to a previous report in April that accused Audi of developing the emissions-cheating software in 1999. The report, which was conducted by German newspaper Handeslblatt, claimed the software was used to shut down specific engine functions in 1999, but wasn't installed until 2005. The automaker hid the software's true nature by referring to it as "acoustic software."

Lastly, the suit cites executives' emails that reflected fright and distress when California regulators called for a more thorough test of the automaker's cars. In spite of the chaos, both Winterkorn and Müller have denied any malpractice.

With the automaker already facing a $14.7 billion settlement, things could become even more expensive for VW as other states file individual lawsuits. There's no word on what penalties the states are suing for, but things could get out of hand for the automaker shortly.

Related Video:

VW Reaches Tentative Settlement Agreement | Autoblog Minute

Share This Photo X