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German prosecutors raid VW offices amid emissions probe

John MacDougal, AFP | Archival picture shows Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany on September 30, 2015

German prosecutors on Thursday announced they had searched Volkswagen (VW) headquarters near the northern city of Wolfsburg as part of an investigation into the auto giant’s falsification of emissions data.

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Other Volkswagen locations were also searched by prosecutors with the help of police, amid an expanding scandal over millions of diesel VW cars that were equipped with technology designed to cheat on emission tests.

“Today, in connection with the so-called emissions scandal, raids were carried out at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and other locations," prosecutors from the state of Lower Saxony said in a statement.

The targets of the search were documents and data storage devices, the prosecutor’s office added.

Multiple investigations

The German auto giant is facing a string of inquiries and possible lawsuits around the globe, following revelations starting in September that several VW models included software that deceived regulators measuring polluting smog.

Martin Winterkorn stepped down as the company’s CEO on September 23 after VW admitted to cheating diesel emissions tests in the United States.

The company’s top US executive, Michael Horn, on Wednesday was facing questions by a Congressional subcommittee in Washington.

The scandal involves at least around 500,000 cars in the US, but has grown to include 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Prosecutors in France announced on October 2 that they had opened a preliminary investigation into Volkswagen for “aggravated fraud”.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP)

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