South Korea prosecutors arrested an executive at Volkswagen AG’s local unit as part of investigations into whether the automaker violated the country’s environmental laws after it admitted to rigging diesel vehicles to cheat on U.S. emissions tests.
The Seoul District Court issued an arrest warrant for a director at Volkswagen Korea, surnamed Yoon, early Friday on charges of violating local environment laws and fabrication of documents, said Shin Jae Whan, a judge at the court in charge of fielding media inquiries. Seoul prosecutors had sought the warrant after finding the company manipulated emissions and noise-level tests for more than two dozen models to secure approval to import them, according to the prosecutors’ office.
A Volkswagen Korea spokeswoman confirmed the arrest and declined to comment further, citing the ongoing investigation. The automaker sold about 68,000 Volkswagen and Audi vehicles in South Korea last year.
Volkswagen admitted in September to installing software to cheat on diesel emissions tests in some 11 million vehicles worldwide, triggering investigations in countries including South Korea. In the U.S., the automaker is negotiating a $10 billion settlement for submission to a federal judge next week, according to people familiar with the talks.
South Korean prosecutors raided the Seoul office of Volkswagen’s Korea unit in May on suspicion the company forged fuel efficiency test documents. Two agencies that handle fuel efficiency certification also were searched.