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Volkswagen Suspends Executive Amid Investigation Into 'Dieselgate

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On: Mon, Oct 26, 2015 at 11:09AM | By: Carl Malek

Volkswagen Suspends Executive Amid Investigation Into 'Dieselgate

The investigation into "Dieselgate" has been filled with its fair share of twist and turns, but Volkswagen has revealed that it has begun the process of punishing key offenders with the suspension of a top executive in the firm's R&D department, according to a report released by a German business magazine and Reuters.

The executive in question, Hanno Jelden, was suspended on allegations that he played a crucial role in implementing the cheating devices that were outfitted to several Volkswagen, Audi, and Porsche diesel models, according to a report released byReuters. Jelden's suspension comes amid the suspension of 10 other managers including several senior engineers. However, Jelden's suspension is the most significant because he was not only the head of the powertrain electronics division, he also had the power to either approve or disapprove the use of the cheating devices, or perhaps stop it internally if he knew about the software before it was implemented into production diesel vehicles.

The German weekly publication Bild am Sontagcited VW sources in its own separate report on Jelden, revealing that the embattled executive was under investigation by prosecutors for possible fraud. While not officially confirmed by VW and investigators, the suspicion is that Jelden is one of the rouge engineers that reprogrammed the engine software to fool emissions tests back in 2007, when the 2.0-liter diesel engine was still under development. Jelden is a seasoned engineer with 22 years experience under his belt, especially when it comes to both engine and transmission electronics, as well as both hardware and software systems. He was once seen as a top engineer in the company, but so far the veteran Volkswagen employee has declined to issue a statement to corporate investigators about whether Volkswagen board members knew of the unauthorized software modifications, according to Bild.

In a separate report,Bildalso revealed that former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn has been cleared by investigators of knowing about the emissions rigging scheme. Winterkorn had made previous statements that he knew about the emissions scandal only a few days before the U.S. EPA released its public report on the matter back on September 18th. Winterkorn stated that while he was, indeed, aware of a "massive" problem with the EPA, he did not know the full extent or the true nature of the problem until it was formally revealed. Winterkorn resigned shortly after the scandal made headlines last month, claiming that he was stunned by the sheer scale of the deception, and that he was not aware of any formal wrongdoing on his part.

While the suspension of Jelden does, indeed, play a key role in VW's efforts to hold the ringleaders of the emissions cheating scandal accountable, the German company still has an uphill battle to face, especially since the final total cost of the emissions scandal could surpass $87 billion dollars, a figure that is significantly higher than the initial estimates released by Volkswagen. Look for the fallout from that hefty legal fine to be felt across the entire Volkswagen empire, especially in the release of new products such as the upcoming Bugatti Chiron hypercar, as well as future diesel and hybrid vehicles from the company.


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