The probes into Volkswagen Group following the emissions scandal have stepped up.
German prosecutors have doubled the number of the carmaker’s staff under investigation, and France has announced it has opened a formal probe into alleged “aggravated fraud” by the carmaker.
A Financial Times article cites a spokeswoman from France’s agency which tackles fraud as saying it had been established that Volkswagen cheated emissions “with intent”.
And in Germany, prosecutors are now questioning 17 Volkswagen Group employees, although none is from the company’s management board, the FT states.
Volkswagen, whose affected brands include Audi, Seat, Skoda and Volkswagen, has pledged to cooperate openly and fully with any investigations. The results of its own internal investigation into how its vehicles came to be fitted with emissions ‘cheat devices’ are expected to be revealed in April.
Recalls of Volkswagen Group vehicles subject to misleading emissions results across Europe began in February, with the Volkswagen Amarok pick-up truck the first to be fitted with updated software to fix the problem, followed by the Passat.
Volkswagen Group has admitted fitting manipulated software in up to 11 million diesel-powered models worldwide, including 8.5 million in the EU and 482,000 in the US.