Audi investigated by German prosecutors over emissions, report says

BERLIN (Reuters) — German prosecutors have launched a preliminary investigation into Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi related to the scandal over rigged emissions, a German newspaper reported.

Audi has said 2.1 million of its cars were affected by the scandal including the A1, A3, A4, A5 and A6 sedans, TT sports cars, along with the Q3 and Q5 SUVs.

Wolfram Herrle, chief prosecutor in Audi’s hometown of Ingolstadt in southern Germany, was quoted as telling the Funke Media group that a preliminary investigation had been launched to see whether to initiate formal proceedings against the company.

“We are currently reviewing all the facts in order to decide whether an investigation should be initiated,” he said.

Neither the Ingolstadt prosecutors nor Audi were immediately available to comment on the newspaper report.

VW Group said on Tuesday that it plans to recall up to 11 million vehicles globally, including 5 million VW brand vehicles, as it tries to address the scandal over its admission that it cheated U.S. diesel emissions tests.

Among VW Group executives suspended in the scandal are Ulrich Hackenberg, Audi’s head of research and development, who oversees technical development across the group.

On Monday, the German prosecutor’s office said it was investigating former VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn over allegations of fraud in the sale of cars with manipulated emissions data based on charges filed by about 10 unidentified individuals.

Winterkorn was replaced as CEO on Friday by Porsche CEO and VW veteran Matthias Mueller. Winterkorn has said he was not aware of any wrongdoing on his part and wanted to give the company a new start.

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