Prosecutors summon VW executive

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Prosecutors summon VW executive

Prosecutors summoned on Monday an executive of Audi Volkswagen Korea for its rigged emissions and noise-level tests.

This is the first time that an official of Audi Volkswagen Korea has been summoned by prosecutors. The official, surnamed Yoon, is in charge of the certification process of imported vehicles for the German automaker.

The Clean Air Conservation Act and Noise and Vibration Control Act stipulate that all imported cars must receive emission and noise-level certification from the National Institute of Environmental Research (NIER).

Audi Volkswagen Korea allegedly submitted 54 doctored reports to the NIER over the past few years: 48 on the fuel efficiency of 20 models including the Audi A4, two on the emissions of Audi A8s and four on noise-level tests for its Golf and several other models.

The automaker allegedly submitted former test results instead of conducting tests on the newly imported cars, in order to market them faster and at a lower cost.

These new findings come in addition to the company’s 37 test manipulations completed from 2010 to 2015, which the prosecution had already uncovered.

Prosecutors last month seized 956 Audi and Volkswagen cars at a port in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, and found 606 of them had been imported without having undergone a proper emission test.

They also found that from 2013, Volkswagen had sold some 50,000 vehicles in Korea after altering certain parts such as the exhaust gas recirculation valve and fuel injector, without seeking re-approval from the Ministry of Environment.

Ever since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency discovered last September the rigged emissions of Volkswagen vehicles, the company’s local branch has been at odds with the Ministry of Environment and the scandal has been dragging on for months.

The Korean government rejected last week Volkswagen’s third recall plan, saying the automaker has not yet officially acknowledged its use of so-called defeat devices to cheat emissions and fuel-efficiency tests.

Last Tuesday, a group of Volkswagen consumers in Korea filed a lawsuit over fraud against Martin Winterkorn, former CEO of the Volkswagen Group, and Wolfgang Hatz, former head of engine and transmission development at Volkswagen, as well as 10 other executives and officials of the company.

BY KIM YOUNG-MIN, KANG KI-HEON [chung.juhee@joongang.co.kr]

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