The VW diesel emissions scandal is getting messier and messier, and today German law enforcement became directly involved. Multiple media sources are reporting that German prosecutors raided a number of Volkswagen offices on Thursday as a part of their investigation into cheating on the emissions tests of their diesel vehicles..
The prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig is the lead agency in the investigation, and noted that three state attorneys and over 50 state police officers raided several Volkswagen offices and private homes across Germany. According to a spokesperson, the investigation is currently focusing on “several people” at VW, but would provide no further details.
The goal of the operation was to “secure documents and data storage devices that could provide information about employees of the company and their identities involved in the manipulation of emissions of diesel automobiles.”
Details on “Diesel-Gate”
According to a statement from the company in Thursday, it had turned over a “comprehensive collection of data” at its Wolfsburg headquarters to law enforcement authorities.
“We will assist the prosecutors in their investigation of this matter and the responsible people to the best of our ability. This serves the rapid and complete solution, in which Volkswagen has great interest,” the statement also noted.
A few weeks ago, VW confirmed that software on up to 11 million diesel-powered cars made it possible for vehicles to cheat on emissions tests. The “Diesel-Gate” scandal has hammered Europe’s biggest car maker, knocking a third off of its market cap and leading to the resignation of the CEO. Analysts point out that the situation begs bigger questions about the auto industry and its efforts to comply with emissions regulations.
The scandal first came to light when government environment authorities announced in the middle of last month that Volkswagen had installed emissions cheating software on close to 500,000 cars in the U.S.
Unclear whether VW cheated on European emissions tests or not
When asked by The Wall Street Journal about cheating on European emissions tests, Volkswagen replied that the “software built into some of these diesel-powered cars can, in theory, detect when they are being tested and influence emissions. Whether this software was actually engaged and to what extent is still the subject of internal and external investigations,” in an email.
The email continued to note: “It is also still legally unclear whether this is an illegal defeat device in the purview of European standards.”