BERLIN -- Volkswagen managers are worried about traveling to the U.S. after investigators confiscated the passport of an employee, a German newspaper reported.
Citing company sources, the Suddeutsche Zeitung said on Saturday VW believes the U.S. investigators want to prevent the manager from evading questioning or criminal prosecution linked to the diesel-emissions scandal.
The person had been in the U.S. for several weeks and was involved in dealing with the emissions scandal, the Financial Times said in a separate report. It was not clear why the person had their passport taken away, as a number of other VW managers have been to the U.S. and back in recent weeks, the paper said.
A VW spokesman said: "Volkswagen employees are still traveling to the United States. Everything else is speculation."
VW is under investigation in the U.S. and could face penalties of up to $18 billion after admitting it deliberately rigged emissions tests of diesel-powered vehicles.
Mary Nichols, head of the California Air Resources Board, which is investigating VW, has criticized the carmaker's handling of the scandal.
Citing a person with knowledge of the matter, the newspaper said it was now unlikely that new VW CEO Matthias Mueller would travel to the U.S. in the second half of November as planned.
"We need legal security here before he can fly to the United States," the newspaper quoted a person from group management as saying.
There is no official plan for Mueller to travel to the U.S. and VW has so far declined to comment when asked whether such a trip is likely.
Reuters contributed to this report