German authorities raid Audi offices in dieselgate probe
German authorities have raided Audi’s offices and homes of several officials over the emissions test cheating scandal by its parent firm Volkswagen.
The authorities allege that Audi engineers and managers might have installed the ‘defeat devices’ in its vehicles, similar to what Volkswagen did.
The raids were conducted on Wednesday, just hours before Audi’s annual press conference.
The move was part of an investigation into 80,000 3-litre diesel engines that were used in Audi and Porsche vehicles, which was sold in the US between 2009 and 2015.
The authorities searched Audi’s headquarters in Ingolstadt, Neckarsulm facilities along with six other unnamed sites. Volkswagen’s Wolfsburg headquarters was also searched.
According to Fortune magazine, the US Department of Justice has accused Audi of developing software to hide excess emissions back in 2012.
The investigation was to identify the individuals who were involved in developing the defeat software and who had also misguided third parties.
Audi’s officials stated that they are fully co-operating with the authorities and the company wants to get to the bottom of the diesel scandal.
The diesel emissions scandal came to light in September 2015, after Audi’s parent company Volkswagen admitted that up to 11 million vehicles had been installed with the ‘cheating software’.
After pleading guilty, Volkswagen will now have to pay about $20bn in compensation and buy-back schemes to car-owners, government fines and investment in transport electrification, zero and low-emission vehicles development.
Audi has also set aside around $1.7bn for the compensation and fines that it might have to pay for the scandal.
By allocating such a provision, the company’s pre-tax profits got reduced by 37% last year to €3bn. Revenues increased by 1.5% to €59.3bn on car sales which increased by 3.6% at 1.87 million.
Image: Audi headquarters in Ingolstadt in Germany. Photo: Courtesy of Andreas Fingas/Wkipedia.