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VW declines to comment on new diesel lawsuits

    

NY state, MA and Maryland are suing Volkswagen and its affiliates Audi and Porsche over diesel emissions cheating, alleging that the German automakers defrauded customers by selling diesel vehicles equipped with software enabling them to cheat emissions testing.

NY is one of three states that are bringing environmental damage cases to the automaker, as well as Maryland and MA.


The suits outlined more than a decade of efforts by VW to deceive regulators in the United States and Europe, citing internal VW documents.

VW admitted in September it installed illegal software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, sparking the biggest business crisis in its history.

Additionally, just before the scandal broke, in August 2015, eight employees in the engineering department "promptly deleted or removed incriminating data about the devices from the company's record", according to the lawsuit. The New York suit stated that "some but not all of the data has been recovered".

Top VW executives, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, knew about the deception, the NY lawsuit alleges, and participated in efforts to cover it up.

Maryland's attorney general is also expected to file suit.

"This "clean diesel" was nothing more than a dirty cover up", said Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

"This cover-up was deep, wide and long-lasting".

Other top VW executives, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, knew about the deception and participated in efforts to cover it up, the NY lawsuit said.

In a statement, Volkswagen said it is already in talks with authorities regarding "a comprehensive national resolution of all remaining environmental issues arising from the diesel matter".

Volkswagen says it's "regrettable" that states are filing lawsuits over diesel emissions cheating while it is still in discussion with US federal and state authorities.

The suit alleges that Volkswagen and Audi, followed by Porsche, began installing the cheating software in more than a dozen USA models beginning in 2008. The software was created to alter the emissions system during government testing to ensure nitrogen oxide emissions were within allowable limits.

That prompted an email to Winterkorn in May 2014 from Frank Tuch, then head of group quality management for Volkswagen, who wrote that "a thorough explanation for the dramatic increase in NOx (nitrogen oxide) emissions can not be given to the authorities".

"In or around July 2006, the issue?.?reached the attention of Martin Winterkorn, then the CEO of Audi AG (and later of the group parent company, Volkswagen AG), as well as "H". Schneiderman told reporters Muller "was made aware of some aspects of this problem" and that "he clearly was in the loop".

VW has admitted that it installed improper software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide, and last month agreed to pay $15.3 billion to settle US federal litigation and charges lodged by 44 USA states that the company violated consumer fraud laws.

Last week, the California Air Resources Board rejected Volkswagen's plan to recall vehicles with 3-liter diesel engines, calling the proposal incomplete and deficient. It is now being investigated by the US Department of Justice as well as the civil cases.

Volkswagen officials covered up diesel cheating, says NY lawsuit

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