German prosecutors raid Audi again in 'dieselgate' probe

Audi offices were raided for the second time in a week as investigators probe emissions cheating at the VW subsidiary
Audi offices were raided for the second time in a week as investigators probe emissions cheating at the VW subsidiary

German prosecutors said they had raided offices belonging to high-end carmaker Audi Tuesday, the second sweep in a week related to diesel emissions cheating at the Volkswagen subsidiary.

The raids on a private home and offices belonging to Audi in southern German states Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg "focused on the use of technical devices to manipulate in 3.0-litre V6 diesel motors for sale on the European market," the authorities said in a statement.

Some 14 people are now under suspicion in the probe into suspicions of fraud and illegal advertising relating to 210,000 sold since 2009, which also saw prosecutors search the homes of six current and former employees last Wednesday.

The raids on Tuesday are the third in a year against the manufacturer with the four-ring logo, after a first round of searches in March 2017.

Most of the people targeted are engineers involved in , the prosecutors said last week, reiterating Tuesday that no Audi executives are among the suspects.

An Audi spokesman confirmed the raids had taken place, adding that "we are cooperating fully with the authorities".

Two Audi workers have been arrested in recent months, with a former motor development executive still in custody while another engineer was released in November.

Audi parent Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to fitting 11 million cars sold worldwide with so-called "defeat devices" designed to make them appear less polluting in regulators' tests than they were in real driving conditions.

The fallout from the "dieselgate" scandal has seen VW pay out billions in fines and compensation and step up plans to electrify much of its product range in the coming years.

And the reputation of diesel-fuelled vehicles has suffered even in car-mad Germany, with their share of the overall market slumping in favour of petrol-powered variants.

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© 2018 AFP

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