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French Police Search VW Offices in Emissions Probe

  • Associated Press

French authorities have searched the headquarters of Volkswagen France as part of a local investigation into the emissions testing scandal at the German automaker.

Investigators from France's environment and public health office conducted the searches Friday at Volkswagen France's offices in Villers-Cotterets, 52 miles north of Paris, and seized computer equipment, the Paris prosecutor's office said Sunday.

A spokeswoman for Volkswagen France, Leslie Peltier, confirmed the searches and said Volkswagen is fully cooperating with the police.

Volkswagen has said around 11 million cars worldwide were outfitted with software that enabled them to evade diesel emissions testing.

Police in Italy also raided Volkswagen's offices last week.

In Germany, prosecutors said Friday they had identified fewer than 10 suspects in the pollution-cheating scandal, as Volkswagen announced a drop in worldwide sales.

Scandal

The revelations about VW's manipulation of its diesel engines have sparked one of the biggest scandals in the history of the automobile sector.

Chief executive Martin Winterkorn was forced to resign -- replaced by Matthias Mueller, the former boss of the group's luxury sports brand Porsche.

VW also announced Friday it had named a top executive from rival carmaker Daimler as its new board member in charge of integrity and legal affairs from January 1.

In addition to the costs of repairing so many vehicles, the once-respected automaker now faces billions of euros (dollars) in potential fines and legal costs, aside from the incalculable fallout from lost sales and diminished customer trust.

The auto giant has said it will recall a total of 8.5 million diesel vehicles in Europe alone.

Some material for this report came from AFP.

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