Volkswagen suspends executive over monkey trials

Automaker Volkswagen has suspended its head of external relations and sustainability in response to the controversy over experiments in which monkeys were exposed to diesel exhaust.

The company said in a statement Tuesday that Thomas Steg was stepping away from his duties at his own request.

The statement said the company was “drawing the first consequences” as it investigates the activities of EUGT, the entity backed by Volkswagen and other carmakers that commissioned the monkey experiment.

The move follows a report in The New York Times that the now-disbanded EUGT commissioned the test to show how Volkswagen’s diesel technology was succeeding in controlling emissions. But the test was done with a vehicle rigged to cheat on emissions tests. The practice was exposed in 2015, toppling then-CEO Martin Winterkorn.

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