Braunschweig prosecutors have raided Volkswagen’s headquarters at Wolfsburg, with the company handing over a “comprehensive” collection of documents regarding its emissions test-cheating vehicles.
The ABC and others report that the head offices and other sites have been swooped on in Lower Saxony, aimed at finding files that could expose which staff were responsible.
“The raids aimed to secure documents and data carriers that, in view of possible offences, can provide information about the exact conduct of company employees and their identities in the manipulation of exhaust emissions of diesel vehicles,” a statement from prosecutors reads.
The German car maker admitted on September 3 that it had used software that had cheated US lab tests on their cars’ emissions. Since then, the company has replaced its CEO, admitted 11 million vehicles worldwide include the “defeat device” software, and seen over 40 per cent of its market capitalisation lost.
The software cheats tests by switching on a low-emissions mode in the laboratory. This is not engaged when the car is on the road.
Meanwhile, the car maker’s US chief has admitted that he was told in spring last year of “possible emissions non-compliance”.
"Some people have made the wrong decisions in order to get away with something that will have to be found out," Michael Horn told a US congressional committee, according to Reuters.
AFP reports that Horn told the committee diesel he found out in early 2014 that Volkswagen cars failed US emissions regulations. However, he did not suspect the vehicles contained “defeat device” software. He had not heard of the software until a few days before September 3.
"At that point of time, I had no understanding what a defeat device was. And I had no indication whatsoever that a defeat device could have been in our cars," he said.