Hacki Hackenberg: “I am a victim of circumstance!” VW’s chief controller #dieselgate embroiled

Hacki on the run

Hacki on the run

Ulrich “Hacki” Hackenberg, who was Audi’s, and formerly VW’s, R&D chief, denies any #dieselgate responsibility. This according to a report of Volkswagen’s internal auditing department, which is being quoted by the usually well-informed German tabloid Bild am Sonntag. Hackenberg has been suspended, along with two other managers. Volkswagen’s chief controller also is about to be sacked, the paper says.

According to the cited report, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn had asked Hackenberg to take responsibility for Volkswagen’s cheater affair. Hackenberg rejected the idea in writing, and he was promptly suspended. Also suspended were Volkswagen’s current R&D chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser, and Porsche’s R&D chief Wolfgang Hatz. This according to multiple media reports, which are not denied, but also steadfastly are not confirmed by Volkswagen. Citing German law, Volkswagen’s U.S. CEO Michael Horn even denied naming the names of the dismissed in last week’s Energy and Commerce Committee hearings.

In the letter to Winterkorn, Hackenberg wrote that he did not know of any defeat devices, because the “reporting channels” went around him in that regard. Insiders at Volkswagen see that as subtle finger pointing at Winterkorn. “If he was bypassed as the report was sent up the ladder, who he’s saying got the report?” a Volkswagen manager asks me. “At Volkswagen, above Hackenberg was only Winterkorn, and then God.”

Winterkorn never definitively denied knowledge of defeat devices, he only declared that he was “not aware of any wrong doing.” Hackenberg hired lawyers, media reports say.

Meanwhile, the scandal continues to ripple through Volkswagen. More managers have been suspended, or put on cold ice, Volkswagen’s hallway radio says. Next to be removed is the head of Volkswagen’s internal affairs department, the “Revision.”  Chief auditor Peter Dörfler will be replaced and reassigned, BamS heard from members of the Supervisory Board, who voiced doubts that Dörfler is up to the task of shining light into the many corners of this scandal.