PARIS: Police have raided Volkswagen’s French headquarters over an investigation into the massive pollution-cheating scandal that has engulfed the German auto giant, a judicial source said Sunday.
Investigators searched the company’s main office in Villers-Cotterets in northern France Friday, as well as another office near Paris, seizing documents and computer hardware in the process, the source added.
Like other countries, France has opened a probe into possible fraud over the pollution-cheating software installed in diesel engines by Volkswagen, which has admitted that 11 million vehicles worldwide are equipped with the program that dupes emission testing.
Nearly one million diesel cars of the Volkswagen brands — VW, Audi, Skoda and Seat — have been sold in France in recent years fitted with the pollution-cheating software, according to VW’s French unit.
Some of the vehicles with the cheat devices were found to emit 40 times the legally sanctioned levels of air pollutants called nitrogen oxides.
Police in Italy also raided Volkswagen’s offices last week.
In Germany, prosecutors said Friday they had identified fewer than 10 suspects in the pollution-cheating scandal, as Volkswagen announced a drop in worldwide sales.