German police raid Continental over Volkswagen emissions scandal

Automotive parts supplier Continental was the target of police raids in Germany on Wednesday linked to the now-notorious defeat device used by Volkswagen to cheat emissions testing on a massive scale.

State prosecutors in the city of Hanover, where Continental is headquartered, said nine employees at the company are under investigation for suspected fraud and false certification.

Volkswagen first became engulfed in the diesel emissions scandal in September 2015, when mass cheating on environmental standards testing was unearthed by US regulators.

Since then, the scandal has cost the German auto giant billions of dollars in legal penalties and settlements.

Suspicions have also arisen over whether parts suppliers were also involved in the emissions rigging.

In a statement, Continental said investigators were present at its premises in Hanover, Frankfurt and Regensburg, among others, adding that the company was fully cooperating with authorities.

The DAX-listed company reiterated its position on the scandal: “We have not supplied any software to any of our customers for the purpose of manipulating exhaust values.”

Prosecutors said in a statement following the raids that the probe involves seven engineers and two project managers.

“It is an offshoot of the proceedings that the Braunschweig public prosecutor’s office is already conducting against Volkswagen employees,” the statement said.

Investigators are looking into whether employees of the former Siemens automotive engineering division VDO – taken over by Continental in 2007 – accepted an order for the control system of the 1.6-litre EA 189 diesel engine, the model designed to dupe environmental authorities and millions of VW customers, knowing that VW intended to use it for fraudulent purposes.

There are indications that the documentation for the software was also altered accordingly.

Evidence obtained during Wednesday’s raids would now be evaluated, prosecutors said, adding: “We are still at the beginning.”

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