Dirty Business

Volkswagen lawyers approved diesel monkey tests

Portrait of an ape
Contemplating the dirty secrets that everybody knew. Source: Getty

Volkswagen’s involvement in testing diesel fumes on animals goes deeper than so far realized. Internal emails seen by Handelsblatt suggest Volkswagen’s lawyers were also actively involved in approving and adapting tests of diesel engines on monkeys. Initial revelations last week had primarily implicated the company’s PR team in the experiments.

The new phase of the Dieselgate scandal has plunged Volkswagen into renewed crisis, just when executives hoped the company was putting the scandal behind it. Falsifying the level of diesel emissions in environmental tests has cost the company €24 billion since the practice was first made public in September 2015. The latest revelations threaten to substantially increase that bill, as well as inflicting further damage to the reputation of the world’s biggest car maker.

The emails about the monkey research were sent in June 2013 by Michael Spallek, head of the EUGT, the so-called European Research Association on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector, which aimed to study effects of traffic on humans and the environment and which was founded by leading German car makers, Volkswagen, BMW and Daimler. The EUGT was disbanded last year.

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