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Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty

NYT finds smoking gun in the hands of Volkswagen's former CEO

Martin Winterkorn was told in a leaked internal memo about defeat devices sixteen months before he said he did.

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Sean Gallup/Getty

Volkswagen's former CEO has always said that he knew nothing about his company's emissions-cheating policy. His default line is that he learned about the scandal just days before the firm publicly admitted its guilt. Unfortunately for Martin Winterkorn (pictured), internal memos suggest that his memory might be a little faulty. The New York Times is claiming to have seen these documents, kindly supplied by German newspaper Bild. If accurate, the paperwork says that Winterkorn may have known about the conspiracy up to sixteen months before it was revealed to the public. One document, dated May 2014, is an explicit warning to him that regulators might have found the offending defeat device. So, uh, hey, Martin -- you still sure you didn't know anything about this until September 2015?

Government investigations into Volkswagen's dodgy dealings are still ongoing, but the Times points out that Winterkorn could be on the hook for more pain. You see, large public companies like VW are bound by law to inform shareholders about issues that could go on to hurt its share price. Unless he can justifiably prove that selling cars that pumped out 35 times more noxious chemicals than allowed wouldn't hurt the stock, he's in trouble. Winterkorn declined the NYT's request for comment, while Volkswagen said it couldn't because of the ongoing investigation.

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