Audi fires four engineers from diesel division

UPDATED: Feb 20 17:55 CET - updates Audi comment

FRANKFURT -- Audi, which has been caught up in parent Volkswagen Group's emissions-cheating scandal, has fired four engineers from its diesel division.

Audi's former chief of engine development, Ulrich Weiss, and the automaker's former head of emissions in the United States, are among the engineers fired, Handelsblatt reported on Monday.

An Audi spokesman confirmed to Automotive News Europe the dismissal of four engineers including Weiss but declined to comment on the names of the other engineers. "The reason in all cases is gross breach of duty," the spokesman said.

Weiss has been on paid leave for a year and a half, Handelsblatt said. It referred to the dismissed U.S. executive only as "Giovanni P."

Weiss's dismissal came just days after he claimed in a German labour court that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was made aware of illegal software installed in cars as early as 2012, the paper said. Stadler has said he was not aware until U.S. authorities revealed the scandal in September 2015

Last year, Handelsblatt said Audi created so-called "defeat" devices which cut emissions in 1999, years before they were used in up to 11 million VW Group diesel cars sold worldwide.

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