VW suspends chief lobbyist steg over emission tests on monkeys

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Automaker Daimler says it has suspended an executive who represented it at an industry-backed organization that commissioned diesel exhaust tests involving monkeys.

The tests have been criticized by politicians, environmentalists and animal welfare activists.

The New York Times first reported on the study last week, confirming a company called the European Research Group on Environment and Health in the Transport Sector was used by the automakers, including BMW and Daimler, to set up the tests with an American research lab.

According to The New York Times, the EUGT research was created to counter a 2012 decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to classify diesel exhaust as a carcinogen.

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The European Commission understands reports of third-party testing and "we hope that the Minister of the respective nation will be able to explain what has actually taken place" at a ministerial air-quality summit, a spokeswoman for the European Commission stated. The body, which was suspended past year, was funded by three major German manufacturers: Volkswagen, Daimler, and BMW.

On Tuesday, Volkswagen accepted the suspension of its chief lobbyist Thomas Steg in connection with the scandal.

On Monday Volkswagen said that some staff members, whom it did not identify, including some in its legal department, at the VW brand's technical development division and at Volkswagen of America, were aware of the tests at the time.

And Steg had vowed in the top-selling Bild daily that "what happened should never have happened, I regret it very much".

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Earlier this week, two German publications, the Süddeutsche Zeitung and Stuttgarter Zeitung, revealed that Volkswagen might have been experimenting on humans as well. He admitted that he had been informed in advance of the USA monkey experiment but insisted he prevented a plan to carry these tests out on humans.

Mr Denner said that "Bosch had nothing to do with the animal experiments".

The German government said on Monday that any auto emissions testing on monkeys or people was unjustifiable.

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