Hans Dieter Poetsch, chairman of the Volkswagen's supervisory board. Photo: File

INTERNATIONAL - Volkswagen workers applauded Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch at a mass meeting of employees at its headquarters on Wednesday, according to a participant, as staff appeared to close ranks behind its senior managers, three of whom have been indicted.

German prosecutors have accused Poetsch as well as the carmaker’s current Chief Executive Herbert Diess and former Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn of holding back market-moving information on rigged emissions tests four years ago, raising the prospect of more upheaval at the company just as it tries to reinvent itself as a champion of clean driving.

The VW supervisory board was due to meet on Wednesday following the indictments.

The mass staff meeting at the company’s Wolfsburg base had been long scheduled and is part Volkswagen’s normal agenda where such meetings usually take place every three months.

The charges show how the German company, which in September 2015 admitted using illegal software to cheat US diesel engine tests, is struggling to move on from a scandal which has cost it more than $30 billion in vehicle refits, fines and provisions.