Spain’s public prosecutor has called upon the country’s High Court to start a probe into German automaker Volkswagen AG following the massive scandal stemming from the company’s purposely cheating of diesel emissions tests, reports Reuters.
The public prosecutor called in the investigation because the automaker might have committed fraud, including taking state-delivered subsidies illicitly, and may have committed a crime related to environment rules as its cars polluted more than allowed levels, reads a document seen by Reuters. If Spain’s High Court decides to start a probe, it would naturally take months or even years to complete and could be dropped along the way. Volkswagen AG, Europe’s biggest auto company has acknowledged it had purposely cheated on diesel emissions tests in the US and as it also admitted to equipping up to 11 million autos around the world with illegal software its operations are scrutinized by regulators and authorities on a worldwide level.
The automaker has already announced that in Spain almost 700,000 autos – mostly from its Spanish subsidiary Seat – could have been equipped with the “defeat” device at the core of the biggest business crisis the company has faced in 78 years of existence. The Spanish government has so far announced it would try to recover the auto sales subsidies offered to Volkswagen, but it has since backed away (VW AG is a major investor in the country) by claiming the incentives to secure greener new cars were not necessarily linked to the emissions covered by the scandal and may not be able to recover them.