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The revelation that ended Martin Winterkorn’s career at Volkswagen AG came on Sept. 3 in a meeting at an office park east of Los Angeles.

After months of obfuscation, company engineers finally divulged a secret to engineers at the California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board: Volkswagen had installed a “defeat device” to cheat on vehicle emissions tests — and then lied about it to the board and the U.S. EPA for more than a year.

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