FRANKFURT — Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess was given a memorandum warning the company might face legal action in the U.S. over the use of cheating software in cars just days before the scandal broke, a public broadcaster reported on Friday.
A former Volkswagen employee told the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office that he wrote a so-called “one-pager” on Sept. 13, 2015, saying that Volkswagen had lost all credibility with U.S. authorities and was about to be charged, German public broadcaster NDR reported.
The employee further testified that he gave the document to Diess in person on Sept. 14, 2015, NDR said. U.S. regulators disclosed VW’s violations on Sept. 18, 2015.
Volkswagen has said the scandal has cost it more than $27 billion in penalties and fines.
Volkswagen’s senior management, which has denied wrongdoing, is being investigated by prosecutors in Braunschweig, near where Volkswagen is headquartered, to see whether the company violated disclosure rules.
Diess, who was VW’s brand chief at the time, became chief executive of Volkswagen Group in April.
The Braunschweig prosecutor’s office was not immediately available for comment on Friday. A spokesman for Volkswagen said in e-mailed comments that the group was only recently given access to documents in the case, adding this had so far not led to new findings.