BERLIN – German police searched on Tuesday the headquarters of the high-end automobile manufacturer Audi amid an ongoing investigation into the alleged manipulation of pollutant emission levels in diesel vehicles by the Volkswagen group, which owns the brand.
According to the prosecutor’s office in Munich, the authorities had obtained a court warrant for searches at Audi’s main office in Ingolstadt – an industrial city located some 500 kilometers (311 miles) to the south of Berlin – as well as at a manufacturing plant in Neckarsulm (near Stuttgart) and a private residence.
“The focus of the investigation is the use of technical devices to manipulate the emission data for three-liter V6 diesel engines destined for the European market,” read the prosecution’s statement.
It added that there were 14 people accused of wrongdoing within the framework of a parallel investigation into diesel vehicles sold in the United States, although none of them were current or former Audi executives.
Prosecutors were looking into the commission of possible felonies such as fraud and false advertising in the sale of about 80,000 vehicles in the US between 2009-2015.
They were also seeking to impose monetary fines on unnamed Audi executives and on the company itself, for their alleged cooperation or complicity with the crimes.
In January, Germany’s federal motor vehicles bureau, under the orders of the transportation ministry, ordered Audi to repair more than 127,000 diesel cars containing devices to manipulate emissions data.