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17 VW staffers now suspects in diesel investigation

The number of engineers at Germany's largest automaker being investigated for their role in the company's emissions-cheating scandal has risen from six to 17, prosecutors have confirmed in response to a media report.

German prosecutors based in Braunschweig said Tuesday that 17 VW workers are now being investigated in an inquiry into suspected fraud in the wake of Volkswagen´s emissions-cheating scandal. Until now, authorities had only been looking into six people.

"This is part of the diesel investigation, the number of suspects has risen, although none are from the management board," chief prosector Klaus Ziehe said Tuesday.

Prosecutors began their investigation in September 2015 to determine who was responsible for suspected fraud committed through the sale of vehicles with manipulated emissions data.

News of the scandal broke earlier that month when the US Environmental Protection Agency accused the German car manufacturer of outfitting hundreds of thousands of vehicles with so-called "defeat devices" to help them pass emissions tests.

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hch/cjc (AFP, dpa)

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