Prosecutor targets Bosch in Daimler diesel fraud investigation

FRANKFURT - German prosecutors investigating whether carmaker Daimler manipulated emission tests on its diesel cars are looking at whether auto components supplier Bosch was involved in the alleged fraud, it was confirmed on Friday.

"There is an investigation into aiding and abetting fraud," a spokesman for the Stuttgart prosecutor said about Bosch, following a media report published on Thursday.

The new probe targets "unknown individuals" at the supplier, the spokesman for the public prosecutor's office said.

The spokesman added that the Bosch investigation started a couple of weeks ago and was tied to the continuing probe of Daimler, the owner of the Mercedes-Benz brand.

Bosch and Daimler are both based in Stuttgart.

Bosch is a provider of engine management software to Daimler and prosecutors are investigating whether the carmaker made use of illegal software to cheat emissions tests.

Earlier this week Stuttgart prosecutors searched Daimler's offices and other premises in the course of investigations "against known and unknown employees at Daimler who are suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected with manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars."

On Friday a spokesman for Bosch said, "As a matter of policy, and due to the sensitive legal nature of these matters, Bosch will not comment further concerning matters under investigation and in litigation."

This week prosecutors said they were in touch with the U.S. authorities about the Daimler probe.

However, the Stuttgart prosecutors said on Friday they had not contacted their U.S. counterparts about the potential involvement of Bosch in the Daimler matter.

The latest investigation of Bosch comes in addition to a separate inquiry in which Stuttgart prosecutors are looking at what role Bosch may have had in helping engineers at Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> manipulate diesel emissions.

Earlier this month a U.S. federal judge gave final approval for Bosch to pay $327.5 million to U.S. owners of VW diesel cars for its role in developing the engines and as part of a broader settlement to buy back the polluting vehicles. Bosch admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement.

Reporting by Edward Taylor

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