Green Party claims Merkel government knew carmakers were rigging emissions tests

Alexander Dobrindt, the German transport minister, has denied the claims

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The German Green party has claimed that the German Government, led by Chancellor Angela Merkel, knew about the software car manufacturers used to rig emissions tests in the US.

The Green party has said it asked the German Transport Ministry in July about the devices used to deceive regulators and received a written response as follows, the FT reports:

“The federal government is aware of [defeat devices], which have the goal of [test] cycle detection.”

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Diesel vehicles emit up to five times the amount of poisonous nitrogen dioxide that they are limited to under law

The Transport Ministry denied knowing that the software was being used in new vehicles, however.

The timing of the questions has raised concerns over whether the German government knew about the activities at Volkswagen stretching back to 2009.

“The federal government admitted in July, to an inquiry from the Greens, that the [emissions] measurement practice had shortcomings. Nothing happened,” said Oliver Krischer, a German Green party lawmaker.

Alexander Dobrindt, the German transport minister, has denied the government knew about emissions rigging. “I have made it very clear ... that the allegations of the Greens party are false and inappropriate. We are trying to clear up this case. Volkswagen has to win back confidence,” he said.

Governments and manufacturers are both aware that diesel vehicles emit up to five times the amount of poisonous nitrogen dioxide that they are limited to under law, but this is the first time a manufacturer has admitted to deceiving the authorities.

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