VW Slams Prosecutors’ Raid of U.S. Law Firm Amid Scandal Probe

By Christoph Rauwald, Bloomberg News

Volkswagen AG pushed back against German prosecutors following a raid of a local office of Jones Day, the U.S. law firm the carmaker has hired to investigate the roots of its diesel-emissions scandal.

“We view the move by Munich prosecutors as unacceptable in every respect,” VW said in an emailed statement Thursday, without specifying where or when the search took place. The manufacturer will take “all measures available to us” to defend itself. Jones Day spokesmen weren’t immediately available for comment.

The clash comes a day after Munich prosecutors raided the headquarters and main sites of VW’s Audi premium-car division.

The coordinated search started three hours before Audi, the biggest profit contributor for the group, began its annual earnings press conference that’s attended by media from across the globe.

About 100 police took part in searches Wednesday at Audi’s Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm sites as well as seven other locations across Germany, including the brand’s office in Wolfsburg, where Volkswagen has its headquarters. The probe is focused on potential consumer fraud related to Audi’s role in developing tainted 3-liter diesel engines sold in the U.S., with officials seeking information on individuals involved, the Munich prosecutors office said Wednesday. Audi said it was cooperating fully with authorities.

VW hired Jones Day right after revealing in September 2015 that some lines of diesel engines were rigged to cheat on emissions tests. The law firm was assigned to conduct an independent probe into the roots of the biggest scandal in the manufacturer’s history and determine who was responsible for it.

Jones Day has reported the findings to the U.S. Department of Justice and VW’s supervisory board. The information was the basis for a settlement VW reached with U.S. authorities in January.

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