European investigations of Volkswagen staff expand

German prosecutors have expanded their probe into Volkswagen over the company’s “dieselgate” scandal.

German prosecutors have expanded their probe into Volkswagen over the company’s “dieselgate” scandal.

AFP reports that investigations have grown from sixe to include 17 suspects, though this does not include current or former board members.

"This is part of the diesel investigation, the number of suspects has risen, although none are from the management board," said chief prosecutor Klaus Ziehe.

Prosecutors in Paris have assigned three magistrates to the case of “serious fraud” against VW.

The scandal would occupy the company for some time said CEO Matthias Mueller.

Financial consequences “cannot yet be fully gauged as yet,” he said.

“But they will be substantial and painful."

The company has suggested it trim its 600,000-people workforce through layoffs in the US – where it is being sued by the justice department for $US 46 billion – and Europe, depending on the severity of fines.

VW’s works councils chairman, Bernd Osterloh said authorities should consider the effect on employment when determining fines.

“We very much hope that the US authorities also have an eye for this social and employment-political dimension,” The Guardian reports him as saying.

Volkswagen admitted in September last year that it had deceived regulators through software designed to cheat lab tests of nitrous oxide levels. This applied to about 11 million diesel vehicles with the EA 189 diesel engine, built between 2009 and 2015.

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