German police raided 28 homes and offices this week as they widened an investigation into Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal.
Former CEO Martin Winterkorn stands accused of knowing about the emissions cheating way before the company came clean. He is being investigated for fraud.
“There is sufficient reason to believe that [Winterkorn] was aware of the manipulating software and its effect earlier than he publicly claimed,” the state prosecutor said in a statement, referring to confiscated documents and statements from witnesses.
Winterkorn resigned after the scandal became public. He has said he was stunned by the scale of the misconduct. In his resignation statement, he accepted responsibility for the scandal, but insisted he had no knowledge of the manipulation of emissions tests.
Volkswagen () said it was cooperating with the authorities, but did not comment on the probe into Winterkorn.
Prosecutors first labeled Winterkorn a suspect in late September 2015, only to reverse position a few days later. In June 2016, they said they were investigating him for manipulating the market in Volkswagen shares.
On Friday, they added the accusation that he knew about the scandal.