Porsche appeals police seizure of files in diesel emissions raid

Raids last week accompanied arrest of powertrain boss

BERLIN — Porsche has appealed against the seizure of files by prosecutors during a raid last week on the sports car brand's premises related to inquiries into diesel emissions test manipulations, prosecutors said.

Prosecutors seized an unknown number of files at Porsche during searches carried out by around 160 officials on April 18 as part of an investigation into employees at the Volkswagen-owned carmaker suspected of fraud and fraudulent advertising tied to manipulated emissions control systems of diesel passenger cars.

Porsche has appealed in full against the seizure and consequential inspection of the files, the prosecutor's office in Porsche's home town of Stuttgart said on Wednesday.

The second-largest contributor to Volkswagen group profit is the latest VW division to find itself in the crosshairs of prosecutors after VW admitted to cheating emissions tests in the United States in 2015 and related investigations that have since engulfed luxury brand Audi.

Last week, German police arrested the head of powertrain development at Porsche and are holding him on remand on concerns he could try to destroy evidence or flee, a person familiar with the matter told Reuters.

A local court will now be tasked with deciding whether Stuttgart prosecutors are entitled to process the seized files, a spokesman for the prosecutors said, adding that Porsche has a right to lodge a complaint should the court uphold the seizure.

Porsche said the sheer quantity of files seized by the prosecutors which also included confidential data for the carmaker's own lawyers and information irrelevant to the inquiries have caused it to file a blanket appeal against the seizures.

"The reason (for the appeal) is the large number of seized files that is making it impossible for Porsche to carry out an assessment in the short time available," a spokesman said. "Porsche fully cooperates with the relevant authorities and takes an interest in clearing up the matter."

Reporting by Andreas Cremer

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