Audi searched by German police in Dieselgate swoop

Investigators in three German states - Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony - searched "sites belonging to Audi AG and seven other locations" on suspicion of "fraud and illegal advertising", Munich prosecutors said in a statement.

"The execution of the search warrants is meant to clarify which persons were involved in the use of the relevant technology and, where applicable, were involved in providing inaccurate information to third parties", Heidenreich said in a statement.

German prosecutors raided Audi office sites across the country on Wednesday as part of the investigation into the emissions cheating scandal that has plagued parent company Volkswagen since 2015. 80 police officers and prosecutors were involved. An Audi spokesman told the Associated Press the raids were focused on the company headquarters in Ingolstadt and its plant in Neckarsulm and that the company was fully cooperating with the raids.

Volkswagen has issued a global recall of all vehicles affected by the diesel manipulation and has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in the USA, agreeing to pay fines, penalties and consumer compensation of around $25 billion.

In the U.S., Volkswagen has agreed to pay a series of settlements with the Federal Trade Commission that could be worth as much as $14 billion.

In a separate event, but one that relates to the broader European response to the "dieselgate" scandal, Renault SA (RNLSY) shares fell sharply Wednesday after a report in France's Liberation newspaper said the carmaker is suspected of trying to disguise the true level of emissions from some of its diesel-powered vehicles.

The engine is said to be used in several auto models of VW, Audi as well as Porsche.

  • Zachary Reyes