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Lawsuits connect Volkswagen senior executives to Dieselgate

The new suits in New York, Maryland and Massachusetts link high-level company executives to the emissions-cheating scandal.

A trio of new lawsuits over the Volkswagen emissions scandal allege a coverup by the automaker that "was orchestrated and approved at the highest levels of the company," involving dozens of employees and senior executives, including its former CEO.

And for the first time, the civil suits connect the current CEO, Matthias Muller, to the scandal, The New York Times reported Tuesday.

They say Muller, then-chief of Audi project management, knew about a decision 10 years ago "to not outfit Audi vehicles with equipment needed to meet American clean-air standards," the Times said. The suits didn't specifically say he knew about the emissions-cheating software.

The suits, filed in Maryland, Massachusetts and New York after a nine-month investigation, were announced Tuesday by the state attorneys general.

In September, the automaker admitted it had installed software in some of its diesel vehicles to cheat emissions tests. The company has said only a small number of people knew about the deception. Muller replaced Martin Winterkorn in September as chief executive.

Late last month, the automaker reached a $15 billion deal in the US to settle claims, covering vehicle buybacks and repairs.

Volkswagen didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.