Authorities in the US have charged a senior Audi manager over the Volkswagen Group ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal.
Reuters reports that the US Justice Department alleges the manager gave instructions for employees to design the now-infamous ‘defeat device’ software.
Charges include violating the clean air act, conspiracy and fraud. Answering the charges in Giovanni Pamio, who is reportedly an Italian citizen.
Further, a second Audi employee is said to be cooperating with US authorities who, in return, have agreed not to press charges.
US authorities will allege various communications between Pamio and employees over a seven-year period included warnings that the diesel engines did not comply with clean air laws.
Authorities will also allege that Pamio ignored these warnings, and instructed employees to provide false data to regulators.
Testing by West Virginia University researchers revealed that some diesel-powered Volkswagen Group models, including Audis, behaved differently in regards to emissions outputs when tested under laboratory conditions compared to on-road driving.
As a result, the defeat device was uncovered, and Volkswagen has been dealing with the fallout ever since.
Besides communications associated with the defeat device, reports also claim Pamio ordered the preparation of a presentation to demonstrate how Audi could limit the use of the fuel additive, AdBlue.
AdBlue’s environmental benefits were seen as a disincentive to customers, who would be forced to choose between the convenience of a large AdBlue tank or space for interior features - such as large audio systems.
To date, the dieselgate saga has cost an estimated US$25 billion in the US alone, with Volkswagen agreeing to buy back around half a million vehicles. Various Volkswagen employees are also facing legal action in the US.
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