Volkswagen 'contests' claim boss knew of financial risk in scandal

Herbert Diess, Volkswagen's new CEO smiles after a news conference at the Volkswagen plant in Wolfsburg, Germany April 13, 2018. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

German carmaker Volkswagen yesterday rejected a report that chief executive Herbert Diess knew of the financial risks from the firm's massive diesel cheating earlier than he has so far acknowledged.

Oliver Schmidt, a former VW manager jailed over 'dieselgate', told the FBI he had briefed Mr Diess and other executives about the cheating and the potential financial consequences on August 25, 2015, German weekly Bild am Sonntag reported.

A Volkswagen spokesman yesterday highlighted its defence in a 9.0-billion-euro ($10.8 billion) German legal case brought by shareholders, in which it 'contests' Schmidt's claim to have briefed then-chief executive Martin Winterkorn, Diess and others about looming fines of $18.5 billion on August 25.

"The threat of imminent or concrete fines... was not discussed," the document reads.