Porsche CEO Oliver Blume has had to be defended by company insiders who say that he was not the subject of a raid by German police and public prosecutors this week, as Dieselgate investigations continue in a surprise development.
Joerg Kerner, the sources said, is being held without remand because he is considered a flight risk. At Audi, he developed the division in charge of engine- and transmission-management electronics design and software.
Rumours have been flying about the identities of the executives who are under investigation - German officials are investigating current and former Porsche employees under suspicion of fraud and false advertising in relation to diesel cars sold by the brand, including the Macan and Cayenne models.
Audi developed the V6 3.0-litre diesel engine used in some of the manipulated cars.
Last July, the German Transport Ministry stated that illegal software which hides real levels of emissions had been found in Porsche cars. A total of 33 prosecution officers and 160 policemen were involved in the raids, which were conducted at 10 of the automaker's facilities in the states of Baden-Wuerttemberg and Bavaria. 'The third suspect is no longer employed at Porsche AG'.
The prosecutor has also accused Porsche research and development boss Michael Steiner and an unnamed former employee of wrongdoing, according to the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
A spokesman for the prosecutor's office declined to name the person, but said it was not a Porsche management board member.
A spokeswoman for the Munich prosecutor's office told DPA news agency that Wednesday's searches at Audi "had nothing to do" with a separate probe into Audi's role in the diesel scam.
He said that "Audi AG and Porsche AG are cooperating fully with the investigating authorities".