The South Korean authorities did not expect for an invitation from Volkswagen and raided the automaker’s offices, as part of a probe into an emissions case.
The South Korean government did not linger and decided to conduct its own tests on Volkswagen vehicles after the German carmaker admitted in September that it installed faulty software in up to 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide. The authorities’ findings led to a 14.1 billion approved fine (around 12 million dollars) against VW back November, also ordering the automaker’s Korean branch to submit a recall plan for 125,522 vehicles. However, the environment minister said last month that the plan failed to explain why the problem occurred and how it would be fixed, as required by law, prompting the authorities to file a criminal complaint against the local unit of Volkswagen/Audi and two company officials.
As a next step in their legal battle with the company, South Korean prosecutors searched the local office of Volkswagen AG and Audi AG on Friday and also the house of an unidentified senior company official, Yonhap News Agency reported. They seized emails exchanged with headquarters and documents on emissions verification and vehicle certification, the report said. A spokesman for Volkswagen Korea confirmed the raid but provided no other details, and reiterated that the company was cooperating with the probe. Volkswagen and Audi top the imported car sales rankings in South Korea, Asia’s fourth-biggest economy and the second-biggest market in the region for diesel cars after India.