HAMBURG/BERLIN Feb 11 Ex-Volkswagen
Chairman Ferdinand Piech, who resigned after a showdown with
former chief executive Martin Winterkorn, has refused to testify
to German lawmakers investigating a possible government's role
in the VW emissions scandal, according to his lawyer.
Piech, also VW's former CEO who spearheaded the carmaker's
global expansion, gave testimony to lawyers of U.S. law firm
Jones Day last April and to German prosecutors in Braunschweig
near VW's Wolfsburg headquarters in December, his lawyer said.
"These comments were solely directed at the inquirers of
Jones Day and the prosecutors respectively. They were not
directed at the public media," Piech's Hamburg-based lawyer,
Gerhard Strate, said in an emailed statement.
He said Piech has no intention "to comment in public on what
is being circulated as the alleged content of the questioning".
The German parliamentary committee of inquiry has expressed
its intention to summon Piech. The committee chairman did not
return calls seeking comment on Piech's refusal to testify.
A German media report earlier this week said Piech had
informed top directors at VW about potential cheating with
diesel emissions tests in the United States six months before
the scandal became public in September 2015.
Piech has not commented on the report by Bild am Sonntag.
The unsourced report said Piech raised the issue with
Winterkorn and subsequently informed members of the supervisory
board's steering committee in March 2015 - a month before Piech
was ousted as chairman.
VW has said it might take legal action against Piech over
his reported assertions. The supervisory board's labour
representatives have since denied the reported allegations, as
did Stephan Weil, a member of the steering committee and prime
minister of Lower Saxony state, VW's No. 2 stakeholder.
The German parliamentary committee will next Thursday
question Weil and Transport Minister Alexander Dobrindt over the
The panel was set up last April to clarify whether Germany's
federal government and regulators were involved in VW's
manipulations or failed to contribute towards their disclosure.
Last month it questioned Winterkorn, who denied early
knowledge of the cheating.
(Reporting by Jan Schwartz and Andreas Cremer; editing by Mark