Audi added to probe on emissions fraud
Volkswagen's Audi unit was made a party to the diesel-emission probe by Munich prosecutors, a step that may allow the seizure of profits the company made from selling vehicles with rigged engines.
Munich prosecutors investigating Audi employees for fraud have formally added the carmaker to a related inquiry looking into whether executives neglected their supervisory duties allowing the cheating to happen, a spokeswoman for the investigators said. The review will be handled under administrative rules that allow for sanctioning wrongdoing at companies.
While Germany doesn't allow for prosecution of companies under criminal laws, an administrative probe is the tool prosecutors can use to sanction firms. The rules allow the seizure of profits made from illegal conduct. Siemens faced the same type of review during a corruption probe about a decade ago and settled with Munich prosecutors for €600m.
Audi was notified about the step and will continue to work constructively with prosecutors, company spokesman Oliver Scharfenberg said.
Volkswagen is already facing the same type of review by prosecutors in Braunschweig, who are investigating whether the Wolfsburg-based carmaker committed fraud by installing computer software that only turned on a vehicle's pollution blocking equipment during emissions testing. VW admitted in September 2015 that about 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide were sold with so-called defeat devices.
The company couldn't sell vehicles in the US without certifying they met the emissions standards and couldn't meet the standards with its diesel vehicles without cheating. (Bloomberg)