Ferdinand Piech, ex-Volkswagen Chairman and predecessor of Martin Winterkorn, refused to testify to German authorities investigating the possibility of a government role in the company’s emissions scandal.
Piech’s last testimonies were given last year to lawyers from a U.S. law firm Jones Day last April and to German prosecutors last December, according to his lawyers who spoke to Reuters.
“These comments were solely directed at the inquirers of Jones Day and the prosecutors respectively. They were not directed at the public media,” Piech’s lawyer, Gerhard Strate, said in a statement.
He also added that Piech has no intention “to comment in public on what is being circulated as the alleged content of the questioning.”
An earlier report from German Bild am Sonntag said that Piech had informed top directors at VW about the possibility of cheating diesel emissions tests in the U.S. six months before the scandal went public in September 2015.
The same report goes on saying that Piech talked about the issue with Winterkorn and then informed members of the supervisory board in March 2015, a month before he was forced out of his position as Chairman.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that after Piech talked with Winterkorn about the excess diesel emissions in U.S. vehicles, Winterkorn said that a recall of the affected vehicles was already planned and that the problem would be resolved.
VW has since said that they consider taking legal action against Piech over his reported assertions. The supervisory board’s labor representatives have already denied the reported allegations, with Stephan Weil, a member of the steering committee and Prime Minister of Lower Saxony state (which is VW’s second-largest stakeholder), doing the same.