Investigators near Volkswagen’s German headquarters are reportedly looking into 17 employees in the ongoing probe of the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal.
Klaus Ziehe, a spokesman for the prosecutor's office in Brunswick, told reporters this week that the investigation widened from its initial focus on six employees but did not provide additional details.
German prosecutors launched the probe last fall after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency uncovered systemic manipulation of emissions levels during testing of VW’s diesel vehicles.
The company issued a chronology of the controversy last week amid lawsuits filed by VW shareholders.
Although VW conceded that top officials were alerted to potential emissions problems more than a year earlier, the company denied allegations that it misled investigators and blamed the problem on lower-level employees "whose identity is still being determined."
Investigations of VW in numerous other countries -- including the U.S. -- remain pending. In addition to criminal inquiries and shareholder lawsuits, VW also faces civil lawsuits and is in talks with U.S. regulators about complex fixes to comply with EPA emissions limits.
German prosecutors, meanwhile, also confirmed than another five Volkswagen employees were under investigation for discrepancies in carbon dioxide emissions that affect a much smaller number of vehicles.