Volkswagen chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch has seen his position come under strain as he becomes directly enmeshed in the diesel emissions scandal for the first time.
German prosecutors say they have enough evidence to name Poetsch as their third suspect in their investigation into whether Volkswagen was too slow to inform the market about cheating the diesel emissions tests.
Poetsch, who was chief financial officer when the crisis began, has received the backing of the car maker, which told Reuters that management complied with German law and that Poetsch will continue to cooperate with the investigation.
His implication in the market-manipulation investigation is likely to renew criticism from investors who have questioned how he can fairly oversee the internal probe into the cheating on emissions tests when he was chief financial officer at the time the scandal occurred.
The issue of what top executives knew, and when they knew it, is crucial for a series of German investor lawsuits that seek around €8bn in damages. The scandal has already cost the company €18.2bn for recalls in Europe and damages in the US, where Volkswagen has agreed to buy back almost half a million cars as part of a broader civil settlement.