Volkswagen Employees Say Manager Told Them to Destroy 'Defeat Device' Evidence

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

As the Environmental Protection Agency readied charges against Volkswagen, the automaker’s employees were told to remove evidence related to the diesel emissions scandal, German media reports claim.

The New York Times says several Volkswagen employees told investigators that just before the scandal broke, someone in a “supervisory position” told them indirectly to remove evidence of the emissions-cheating defeat devices installed in millions of diesel vehicles.

The manager used vague language when advising the employees on what to do, but “everyone understood” what the message meant, according to a spokesperson for the state attorney in Braunschweig, Germany.

Because of the ongoing investigation, the employee and his or her position within the company can’t be named. The order to erase evidence came in August 2015, a month before the EPA accused Volkswagen of emissions cheating.

The Times mentioned an anonymous source close to the automaker, who claimed “the suspect was a member of Volkswagen’s legal staff and has been suspended from his job.”

In court, the company said top brass were unaware of the looming charges, even though a memo was sent to former CEO Martin Winterkorn about concerns expressed by U.S. regulators about vehicle emissions irregularities. A PowerPoint presentation dating to 2006 was also found during the investigation.

In the wake of the scandal, Volkswagen hired law firm Jones Day to look into the issue. In March, the company’s supervisory board cleared management of any breaches of duty in relation to the scandal. That decision was apparently based on known evidence collected by the investigators.

A full report from Jones Day detailing the actions of the company isn’t expected until later this year.

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jun 09, 2016

    I don't think the Germermans much care about this anymore. Der Spiegel's homepage right now ( doesn't have a peep about VW and that's usually a good place to see what's rilin' the Heinies at any particular time. They do, though, have an awesome report about Columbian doctors extracting an intact grenade round from the head of a soldier. Oh, and they cover the Ottawa sinkhole.

  • Voyager Voyager on Jun 10, 2016

    "Wir haben es nicht gewusst"... since someone higher up the chain of command told us so. Sounds familiar?

    • Old Man Pants Old Man Pants on Jun 10, 2016

      Meh... people are people. Anyone will dummy-up if their job is on the line; the better the job, the greater your Kadavergehorsam.

  • SPPPP Too much individual choice in that program, maybe?
  • Eric I would like one of each, please. But make that a '641/2 Mustang and a 1970 240Z
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Funny comparison:
  • Kwik_Shift_Pro4X Some insight.
  • Amwhalbi I know this is apples and oranges, but I'd rather have an Elantra N, a Jetta GLI or a Civic Si than either the Mustang or the Z.