Prosecutors in Italy have now started investigations of local executives at Volkswagen and its sports car subsidiary Lamborghini because of accusations of fraud following the German automaker’s admission it had rigged diesel vehicle emissions tests.
Mario Giulio Schinaia, chief prosecutor in the northern Italian town of Verona, the city where Volkswagen Italia is headquartered, announced police officials have searched the premises at both Volkswagen and Lamborghini’s main offices on Thursday. The side investigation of the managers at both companies is part of the legal procedure linked to the searches, the official added. “If we want to be able to prove that (cars) have been sold by people who knew they were committing a crime, we need proof that people were aware,” commented Schinaia. “It is one thing if I sell water and pretend it’s wine but if I sell water believing it is wine it’s different.” Bologna-based Lamborghini, which has been purchased in its entirety by Volkswagen back in 1998, announced the raid at both office locations were due to the fact that Automobili Lamborghini SpA was the parent company of VW Group Italia SpA.
Last month sources reported the Italian prosecutors were probing whether Volkswagen cars sold in Italy had the same illegal software manipulations installed as the ones found to have cheated the regulators across the ocean in the United States. Volkswagen admitted last month to the foul play in the US and added up to 11 million vehicles sold worldwide had the illegal software embedded – including some 8.5 million in the European Union.