August 22, 2018 09:31 CET
— UPDATED: Aug. 22 15:36 CET – adds VW CEO comment
MUNICH — Volkswagen Group plans to fire a group of engineers and managers implicated in the automaker’s diesel emissions-cheating scandal, German press reports said.
Former VW brand development boss Heinz-Jakob Neusser is the highest-ranking employee among six expected firings, Handelsblatt and Bild am Sonntag papers reported.
Prosecutors in Brunswick in VW’s home state of Lower Saxony have targeted an “inner circle” of 39 of the automaker’s employees in their investigation into the emissions cheating. A further wave of dismissals is expected, Handelsblatt said.
Neusser, who has been suspended from work since 2015, also faces charges in the U.S. He was among six executives indicted by the Department of Justice in January 2017 in connection with a conspiracy to cheat emissions tests.
Earlier this year the Department of Justice filed criminal charges against former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, accusing him of conspiring to cover up the company’s emissions test cheating.
In an interview with Handelsblatt, VW CEO Herbert Diess said the dismissals affected a “handful of people” at the moment and were happening because the automaker has now had an insight into recently unsealed prosecutors’ investigation files.
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