Korea Prosecutors Question Audi VW Unit Head Over Emission Probeby
Probe into faked emission test results widens to local CEO
Johannes Thammer in charge of South Korea sales since 2012
South Korean prosecutors said they questioned the head of Volkswagen AG’s local unit in connection with allegations that the German automaker fabricated emission test results for cars sold in the country.
Johannes Thammer, Audi Volkswagen Korea chief executive officer, answered a summons on Thursday, according to the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. Audi Volkswagen Korea will fully cooperate with prosecutors’ investigation, a spokesman, who asked not to be identified because of internal policy, said Thursday.
Last week, South Korea’s environment ministry banned sales of 80 VW, Audi and Bentley models and fined the company 17.8 billion won ($16 million), for fabricating emission documents to get approval for importing cars. Allegations against the carmaker include that it falsified noise-level test results. Thammer has been in charge of sales of Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley cars in South Korea since December 2012.
The sales ban is among the most drastic against VW since the revelation by U.S. regulators in September that Audi VW had rigged its diesel models to cheat on emission tests. Volkswagen, which admitted to installing software to cheat on diesel emissions tests, was fined $15.3 billion to cover the cost of getting 482,000 vehicles off U.S. roads.
In South Korea, the environment ministry in November ordered Volkswagen to recall 15 models encompassing 125,522 vehicles that may have been installed with manipulated emission devices.
In May, investigators raided the Seoul office of Audi Volkswagen Korea on suspicion the company had forged documents and obstructed justice. An executive at Audi Volkswagen Korea was arrested in June on charges of violating local environment laws, according to Shin Jae Whan, a judge at the court in charge of fielding media inquiries.