German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives to welcome the President of Botswana Seretse Khama Ian Khama for a meeting at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, March 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel faces Wednesday a grilling by lawmakers investigating if her government shielded Volkswagen from regulators despite knowing the auto giant was carrying out emissions cheating.The parliamentary committee was launched after VW -- Europe's largest carmaker with 12 brands ranging from luxury Porsche to lower-end Skoda -- admitted in September 2015 to fitting some 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with software that temporarily reduces harmful emissions when undergoing regulatory tests.Tasked with investigating Berlin's response to emissions excesses going back to 2007, the group of lawmakers have already heard witnesses from across the government and Volkswagen, including the car group's former chief executive Martin Winterkorn.The hearings have yet to uncover clear evidence that Merkel or her government acted improperly.Former VW CEO Winterkorn told the inquiry that Merkel learned about 'dieselgate' in a phone call on September 22, 2015 -- just after Winterkorn himself claims to have found out.
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