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Employee letter warned Volkswagen managers about emissions investigation, report says

The news just keeps getting worse for Volkswagen when it comes to the scandal surrounding the way the company cheated on emissions tests.

According to a Reuters report, a high-ranking employee warned managers at Volkswagen in May 2014 that U.S. regulators could examine engine software as part of an investigation into pollution levels. Reuters says two sources close to the issue confirmed the letter.

The employee apparently sent a letter to the managers more than a year before Volkswagen admitted that it had quipped cars with software that manipulated emissions tests, the source told Reuters.

The revelation raises questions about what senior managers knew about the company cheating on emissions tests.

Volkswagen is being sued for $46 billion by the U.S. Justice Department for the alleged violation of environment law. Authorities are also trying to determine what role was played by senior leaders at the company, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn.

The German automaker only admitted to cheating on pollution tests in September of 2015. At the time, however, it said only a small number of employees were at fault.

The news of an internal letter warning company leaders at Volkswagen was first reported by German newspaper Bild am Sonntag.

Two sources told Reuters that they knew of the letter but could not say if Winterkorn had seen it.

According to one of the sources, the letter came from VW’s product quality and safety department.

A spokesperson reached by Reuters said the company would not comment on the ongoing investigation. A report from the internal inquiry will be released in the second half of April.