VW files complaint over searches of its dieselgate law firm

Wed Mar 29, 2017 12:30pm EDT
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BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) has filed a legal complaint with a Munich court, seeking to prevent German prosecutors from using information seized during searches of the law firm it hired to investigate its emissions scandal.

The decision follows a meeting of VW's supervisory board on Tuesday, when officials discussed what legal recourse the carmaker has to prevent prosecutors from retaining and assessing the seized material, two sources close to the matter told Reuters on Wednesday.

Some members of VW's 20-strong supervisory board had misgivings about contesting the prosecutors' actions because they fear this could undermine the company's pledge to cooperate fully with authorities in clearing up the scandal, one of the sources said.

VW, the world's largest carmaker, would not specify exactly when the complaint was lodged and gave no further details about its argument.

A spokesman for Munich prosecutors confirmed that VW's complaint has been received. The local and district courts of Munich are unlikely to take a decision on the complaint this week, a legal source told Reuters, allowing prosecutors to continue investigate their case.

VW had already condemned the search of offices of U.S. law firm Jones Day on March 15 and said it would use every legal step to defend itself.

Jones Day could not be reached immediately for comment.

The U.S. law firm was mandated by the supervisory boards of VW and luxury division Audi in late 2015 to lead an open-ended investigation into the emissions fraud.

VW has never published the full Jones Day report, though a summary of its findings was compiled in the form of a "statement of facts" for the U.S. Department of Justice.   Continued...

A Volkswagen logo is pictured at the newly opened Volkswagen factory in Wrzesnia, Poland, September 9, 2016.    REUTERS/Kacper Pempel/File Photo