'Die­sel­ga­te' pres­su­re on Au­di in­cre­a­ses

George Herald - Auto Dealer - - News -

Ger­man pro­se­cu­tors ha­ve con­fir­med that t­hey rai­ded the ho­me of Ru­pert S­tad­ler, CEO of Volks­wa­gen (VW) sub­si­di­a­ry Au­di, o­ver sus­pi­ci­on of fraud re­la­ted to die­sel e­mis­si­ons che­a­ting by the firm.

“Sin­ce 30 May, CEO of Au­di, Ru­pert S­tad­ler, and a­not­her mem­ber of the cur­rent bo­ard ha­ve been re­gar­ded as sus­pects,” pro­se­cu­tors in Ba­va­ri­an ca­pi­tal Mu­nich said in a sta­te­ment.

“T­hey are accu­sed of fraud as well as in­di­rect­ly fal­si­fying cer­ti­fi­ca­ti­ons. This re­la­tes to brin­ging die­sel vehi­cles fit­ted with ma­ni­pu­la­ti­ve e­mis­si­ons ma­na­ge­ment soft­wa­re in­to ci­r­cu­la­ti­on on the Eu­ro­pe­an mar­ket.”

The ho­mes of both S­tad­ler and the ot­her bo­ard mem­ber had been se­ar­ched for e­vi­den­ce. An Au­di spo­kes­per­son said the firm was coope­ra­ting with the in­ves­ti­ga­ti­on.

The la­test pro­be fol­lows a mass re­call or­de­red by Ger­man aut­ho­ri­ties in e­ar­ly Ju­ne of a­bout 60 000 Au­di A6 and A7 cars a­cross Eu­ro­pe to re­mo­ve il­le­gal e­mis­si­ons con­t­rol soft­wa­re, whi­le pro­se­cu­tors rai­ded of­fi­ces and the ho­mes of so­me wor­kers in Fe­bru­a­ry, March and A­pril.

Au­di’s for­mer he­ad of en­gi­ne de­ve­lop­ment was al­so ta­ken in­to cus­to­dy in Sep­tem­ber 2017.

VW ad­mit­ted in Sep­tem­ber 2015 to ma­ni­pu­la­ting 11-mil­li­on die­sel vehi­cles wor­ld­wi­de with soft­wa­re de­sig­ned to re­du­ce harm­ful e­mis­si­ons du­ring tes­ting, but al­lo­wed e­mis­si­ons to ri­se to ma­ny ti­mes legal li­mits in re­al dri­ving con­di­ti­ons.

Sin­ce then in­ves­ti­ga­tors ha­ve been trying to un­ra­vel who was re­spon­si­ble for the in­stal­la­ti­on of such so-cal­led “de­fe­at de­vi­ces”.

The cur­rent VW boss Her­bert Diess has been accu­sed of kno­wing a­bout die­sel che­a­ting be­fo­re it be­ca­me pu­blic - an al­le­ga­ti­on re­jected by the firm in May.

The scan­dal dub­bed “die­sel­ga­te” has so far cost the wor­ld’s lar­ge­st car ma­ker mo­re than €25-bil­li­on in buy backs, fi­nes and com­pen­sa­ti­on. The com­pa­ny al­so still re­mains mi­red in legal woes at ho­me and a­bro­ad.

Ot­her car ma­kers ha­ve al­so been for­ced to re­call vehi­cles to fix ma­ni­pu­la­ted soft­wa­re, alt­hough no­ne has so far ad­mit­ted to mass che­a­ting as VW did.

Sour­ces: AFP and Bu­si­ness Day

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