Bosch concealed Volkswagen use of 'defeat device' software: lawyers

Tue Sep 6, 2016 9:04pm EDT
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By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH [ROBG.UL] concealed the use of Volkswagen AG's (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) secret "defeat device" software that it helped design and demanded in 2008 that the German automaker provide legal protection in its use, lawyers for American owners alleged in a court filing.

The filing on Friday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco expands on claims plaintiffs lawyers made in August, when they alleged Bosch was a "knowing and active participant" in Volkswagen's decade-long scheme to evade U.S. anti-pollution laws. Bosch lawyers said last month those claims were "wild and unfounded."

VW has admitted that it installed improper software that deactivated pollution controls on more than 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide and has agreed to spend as much as $16.5 billion in the United States to address emissions issues, including compensating owners of 475,000 2.0-liter diesel cars.

The new filing offers the most detailed list of claims against Bosch. Lawyers are also seeking redress for owners from Bosch.

The new court filing includes portions of the allegations that were initially redacted in August by the plaintiffs under court rules and says Bosch "did not disclose its knowledge of the illegal defeat device in any ... communications with U.S. regulators."

The filing said Bosch demanded in 2008 that Volkswagen indemnify it over the use of the software designed by the German auto supplier, citing a June 2008 email from Bosch to VW.

The email demanded "Volkswagen indemnify Bosch for any legal exposure arising from work on the defeat device," the lawsuit said.

The lawyers said VW apparently refused to agree to Bosch's request but said they are still investigating.   Continued...

An employee stands behind the counter at a Volkswagen service center for the German automaker located in the Sydney suburb of Artarmon, Australia, October 7, 2015.   REUTERS/David Gray/File Photo