Former Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn told managers in mid-2015 to only partly disclose its problems with diesel-emissions software to U.S. regulators, a former VW executive told a German court.
The order was given at a meeting in July 2015, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was the head of engine development, said at a hearing on Monday.
Neusser sued the automaker for wrongful dismissal in the labor court in the city of Brunswick, close to VW's headquarters in Wolfsburg.
It’s the first time that Neusser talked publicly about the events that eventually led U.S. regulators to disclose the probe in September 2015. VW admitted to using the cheat software in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, and the financial toll has so far reached 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in fines and other expenses.
Neusser, who has been charged both in the U.S. and Germany over the diesel scandal, told the labor court that he only learned about a week before the crucial July 25 meeting about software “irregularities” and suggested they should be fully disclosed.
However, his suggestion wasn’t put into a report presented to the leadership and at the meeting, known as the “Damage Table,” Winterkorn decided not to disclose information, he said.
“Winterkorn decided and ordered it, and there was no further discussion,” Neusser said.