January 12, 2016 / 10:15 AM / 2 years ago

Sweden to open fraud probe into Volkswagen emissions scandal

A logo of Volkswagen is seen on a wheel of a Golf car parked at a dealership in Seoul, South Korea, November 25, 2015. Picture taken November 25, 2015.Kim Hong-Ji

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - A Swedish prosecutor said on Tuesday he had opened a preliminary fraud investigation into Volkswagen over the German carmaker's emissions test cheating scandal which has affected up to 11 million vehicles worldwide.

Volkswagen, having admitted to using software to conceal the level of toxic emissions from some of its diesel vehicles in the United States, faces billions of dollars in claims from owners of vehicles with similar software installed around the world.

Sweden's National Unit Against Corruption said the preliminary investigation was regarding serious fraud and the keeping of false records.

"The investigation will also address the conditions for the imposition of a corporate fine," it said in a press release.

A spokesman for Volkswagen in Sweden welcomed the investigation and denied the Swedish branch of the company was guilty of the accusations.

A federal judge in California is overseeing more than 500 lawsuits filed against the German automaker over the scandal.

The U.S. Justice Department sued Volkswagen last week under the Clean Air Act seeking up to $46 billion. The company also faces investigations by 47 state attorneys general.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Oskar von Bahr; Editing by Mark Potter

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