French police search VW offices in emissions probe

Spanish Prosecutors Call For Probe Of VW For Fraud

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.

In Spain, prosecutors have called on the National Court to open a probe of Volkswagen for possible fraud and environmental offences in connection with the emissions scandal at the German automaker. The court's prosecutor's office sent the recommendation Monday to investigative magistrate Ismael Moreno, saying the alleged offences could have affected people across Spain. It said that given that the cars in question qualified for subsidies from the government, they also constitute possible fraud against the state. The prosecutors were acting on complaints filed by the Spanish anti-corruption group Manos Limpias (Clean Hands) and a victims' association.

Volkswagen's Spanish subsidiary SEAT said it fitted 700,000 vehicles with the EA 189 diesel engines that had software enabling them to cheat on emissions tests. Volkswagen says 11 million cars worldwide have such software. The automaker has hired Christine Hohmann-Dennhardt away from Daimler to help the company, and perhaps the entire German automobile industry, recover from VW's diesel emissions scandal. Governments around the world are working on new emissions tests that may drive the price of diesel vehicles higher than buyers are willing to pay.

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The AP contributed to this report.

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