Audi is once again in the hot seat as prosecutors in Germany launch an investigation into the alleged falsification of documents, mileage readings and vehicle identification numbers for several Audi models sold in South Korea since 2013. Three Audi non-board members are currently being probed, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Munich prosecutor Karin Jung told the publication that “we have three suspects, but there could be more.” The three non-board members are suspected of manipulating test results and mileage readings of the vehicles and falsifying the serial numbers, the prosecutor added. These misdeeds were done in order to obtain roadworthiness certifications required for Audi cars to be exported to South Korea.

A report by German publication Süddeutsche Zeitung explained that the Audi models which were bound for South Korea did not comply with local regulations and would have not received operating permit, hence the falsification of information. In total, it was reported that 18 models were falsely registered with a forged chassis number. The case could be classified as fraud.


Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler

This new probe is linked to a case that saw one Audi executive, a Korean national, convicted of fraud in South Korea last year. The executive was sentenced to 18 months in prison for falsifying documents to achieve certification of the vehicles for export to South Korea.

Prior to this, Audi was already running internal investigations into the case, but the findings (which included detailed descriptions of the violations) were not handed over to the public prosecutors when the Dieselgate saga erupted. The documents were only discovered in March 2017 when a raid into its headquarters took place. However, it’s noted that Audi was under no legal obligations to alert authorities on the findings.

This is just one of several probes of Audi, which stemmed from 2015 when Volkswagen AG admitted to rigging millions of diesel-powered vehicles to cheat emissions tests. However, this matter is not directly related to the emissions cheating, which saw former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler get arrested in June based on the allegations that he tried to tamper with witnesses in the diesel probe.

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