German prosecutors searched two of Audi’s biggest factories and other properties on Wednesday with the ongoing emissions scandal.
The raids are the first at Audi since the scandal involving parent company Volkswagen first broke 18 months ago.
Prosecutors focused on who was involved with the use of illicit software found in 80,000 VW, Audi and Porsche cars that contained 3.0-litre engines and were found to have breached U.S. emissions regulations.
“With these search orders, we aim to clarify in particular who was involved in deploying the technology concerned and in the provision of false information to third parties,” the Munich prosecutor’s office said in a statement on Wednesday.
It said the raids involved prosecutors from several jurisdictions and state police from Bavaria, Baden-Wuerttemberg and Lower Saxony. VW’s Wolfsburg headquarters were searched, along with Audi’s Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm factories and six other unspecified sites.
Reuters reports that some 70 law enforcement officers also searched offices and private homes as part of the operation, although Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s house was not among them.
The police raid occurred as Stadler was presenting Audi’s 2016 earnings. “I have all along supported efforts to clear up the diesel issue at Audi,” he told journalists, admitting recovery from the scandal would still take some time.
Audi reported a 37 drop in operating profit to $4.7 billion for 2016, with a sales return of 5.1 per cent, compared to 8.3 per cent a year earlier.