S Korean prosecutors raid Volkswagen's office

Seoul, Feb 19: Prosecutors raided Volkswagen's South Korean head office today, a spokesman for the carmaker said, as part of a probe into the firm's emissions-cheating scandal.

Investigators confiscated computer hard drives and documents after searching the headquarters in Seoul and other Volkswagen offices in the South Korean capital, Yonhap news agency said. Homes of company officials in charge of product quality control were also raided.


"We have made clear that we will fully cooperate with the investigation and our position remains unchanged," a Volkswagen spokesman told AFP.

The move comes just a month after South Korea's environment ministry filed a criminal complaint against Johannes Thammer, the managing director of the carmaker's local unit, saying a recall plan for emissions-cheating vehicles was legally deficient.

The world's second-largest automaker faces legal action in several countries, after it admitted in September to faking US emissions tests on some of its diesel-engined vehicles.

In November, Seoul ordered Volkswagen Korea to recall more than 125,000 diesel-powered cars sold in the South Korean market and fined the firm 14.1 billion won ($12.3 million).

Foreign carmakers, especially German brands like Volkswagen, have steadily expanded their presence in the South's auto market long dominated by the local giant Hyundai and its affiliate Kia. Sales of foreign cars account for about 15 percent of the total car sales, compared to 10 percent in 2012. Around 70 per cent of foreign auto sales in South Korea are diesel-engined vehicles.


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