Volkswagen is to suspend Audi's head of development as part of the investigation into the emissions scandal that has plagued the company since 2015.

According to Bild am Sonntag, Stefan Knirsch, an Audi board member, knew about the illegal use of software in Volkswagen's three-litre diesel engines to falsify emission reports and gave a false promise under oath.

It is claimed Knirsch has already been asked to clear his desk.

Audi was one of many manufacturers to admit to using the software in its vehicles.

Spokespeople for Volkswagen, Audi and Audi's Works Council have declined to comment.

Knirsch took up the role as head of development last year from Ulrich Hackenberg, previously the top engineer at Audi and the VW group.

Hackenberg resigned following a suspension after it was alleged he was closing involved with the development of the engine at the centre of the scandal.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal came to light in September 2015 after the US Environmental Protect Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clear Air Act to the German car manufacturer.

Volkswagen was found to have installed software in 11 million of its vehicles that produced false emission reports during laboratory testing.

Group chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned following the revelations and the head of brand development Heinz-Jakob Neusser, and Porsche research and development head Wolfgang Hatz were suspended, along with Hackenberg.

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