FILE PHOTO: Volkswagen sign is seen during the annual earnings news conference of VW in Berlin in Berlin, Germany, March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
March 20, 2018
BERLIN (Reuters) – Volkswagen said on Tuesday that its global headquarters were searched again by German prosecutors in early March as part of an investigation into its diesel emissions scandal, confirming a magazine report.
WirtschaftsWoche reported earlier on Tuesday that state prosecutors had started fresh enquiries into suspicions of market manipulation at Volkswagen (VW) to determine whether VW had understated carbon dioxide emissions (CO2) on more cars than it had publicly admitted.
Authorities from the city of Braunschweig searched 13 offices in the nearby VW headquarters in Wolfsburg at the start of March, seizing documents and computer files that will now be reviewed over the next few weeks, WirtschaftsWoche cited a spokesman for the investigators as saying.
The authorities said they were checking a statement issued by VW on Dec. 9, 2015 over suspicions its contents were not correct and whether it therefore represented a case of market manipulation.
VW shares did not react to the news of new searches and were trading up 0.4 percent at 160.2 euros at 0827 GMT.
VW said in Dec. 2015 that its own investigations found it had understated fuel consumption, and hence CO2 emissions, on no more than 36,000 vehicles. That was much lower than its own preliminary estimate of around 800,000 vehicles disclosed five weeks earlier.
It also said it had found no evidence of unlawful alterations to CO2 emissions data, providing some relief as it battled the fallout from emissions cheating revealed by United States regulators in Sept. 2015.
WirtschaftsWoche quoted VW as saying that it believed it met the requirements for such regulatory statements.
A VW spokesman merely confirmed that latest searches in Wolfsburg but declined further comment. The prosecutor’s office in Braunschweig was not immediately available to comment when contacted by Reuters.
(Reporting by Victoria Bryan, Jan Schwartz and Andreas Cremer; Editing by Keith Weir; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Keith Weir)