FRANKFURT Many of Volkswagen's (VOWG_p.DE) managers and staff dealing with emissions problems in the engine-development department knew about test "defeat devices" being developed, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said on Friday, citing results from VW's internal investigation.
A whistleblower, who was himself involved in the deception, alerted a senior manager outside the department in 2011 who did not react, said the newspaper, which researched the matter together with regional broadcasters NDR and WDR.
A Volkswagen spokesman declined to comment on what he called "speculation", saying the investigation was continuing.
The Sueddeutsche Zeitung said a culture of secrecy prevailed within the department, where a large group of employees discussed installing the "defeat" software designed to cheat diesel-emissions tests as long ago as 2006.
Volkswagen has said that to the best of its knowledge only a small circle of people knew about the manipulation, which was admittted to by Europe's biggest carmaker to the U.S. environmental authorities in September last year.
The admission led to the resignation of Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn and is expected to cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in recall and compensation costs, legal fines and settlements.
(Reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Jan Schwartz and Edward Taylor; Editing by Greg Mahlich)
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