Volkswagen Group board member Olaf Lies has confirmed to BBC Newsnight that some employees knew about the emissions cheat scandal more than a year ago, but has said that the company board was only informed of the facts shortly before news broke last week. He has also stated his belief that some employees acted criminally in order to instigate the emissions cheat.
Lies, who is also economy minister of Lower Saxony, told the BBC: "Those people who allowed this to happen, or who made the decision to install this software - they acted criminally. They must take personal responsibility.
"We only found out about the problems in the last board meeting, shortly before the media did. I want to be quite open. So we need to find out why the board wasn't informed earlier about the problems when they were known about over a year ago in the United States."
VW Group statements have revealed that around 11m cars are affected by the software installed to cheat the US emissions test. To date, VW has set aside around £5bn to cover the costs, including repairs and legal action, although some analysts say that bill could triple.