In an effort to get to the bottom of Volkswagen’s emission scandal, German police have recently raided the company’s headquarters. The goal of the raid was to locate any relevant documents and important pieces of data that could help identify the staff members who were responsible for manipulating the engines of 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.
German prosecutors said in a statement, “Today, in connection with the so-called emissions scandal, raids were carried out at Volkswagen in Wolfsburg and other locations. The raids aimed to secure documents and data carriers that, in view of possible offences, can provide information about the exact conduct of company employees and their identities in the manipulation of exhaust emissions of diesel vehicles.”
Meanwhile, the president of Volkswagen America Michael Horn is set to appear in front of the United States Congress to answer questions about the scandal. It is believed that Horn knew about the company’s actions long before the scandal was revealed to the public. Horn is expected to face severe criticism from members of Congress.
Environmental Protection Agency representative Phillip Brooks will also be questioned.
So far, the company has since suspended more than ten of its senior managers, including three of its top engineers. The automobile manufacturer has also hired law firm Jones Day to conduct an external investigation.
Economy minister of Germany Sigmar Gabriel visited the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany on Thursday. He stressed that employees of the company should not be punished for the scandal.
Gabriel said, “I think it is important to send the message that, in the end, the employees must not pay the price for criminal behavior by managers.”
Nearly 500,000 diesel vehicles have been ordered for recall in the United States by the EPA. The company has put aside almost $7.4 billion to fix the offending vehicles. Additionally, the company could be fined up to $18 billion by United States regulators. Combine that with the loss of market value, and Volkswagen could experiences losses of up to $40 billion in total from the scandal.
Additionally, the finance committee of the Senate is investigating the possibility that Volkswagen used the cheating devices installed in its diesel engines in order to benefit from tax credits which are offered on clean diesel vehicles in the United States. Experts believe that Volkswagen received up to $50 million in tax credits.