The Swiss Attorney General has launched a criminal probe into Switzerland’s largest car dealership AMAG and seized evidence relating to the Volkswagen (VW) emissions testing scandal. The state prosecutor had to be ordered to start proceedings by the Federal Criminal Court.
German car manufacturer VW found itself in the centre of a storm in September last year after it was found to have installed software on 11 million vehicles that masked actual emissions levels. Some 180,000 vehicles in Switzerland were affected.
The Swiss Attorney General collated some 2,000 complaints from around Switzerland and handed them to German prosecutors in Braunschweig who were leading the case against VW. But the Swiss prosecutor declined to open its own criminal investigation, saying it would amount to little more than a “fishing expedition”.
The appeals division of the Federal Criminal Court ordered the Attorney General into a U-turn on November 30 after hearing complaints from 596 people.
The court “took the view that it could not be completely excluded that persons at AMAG were aware that emission values had been manipulated”, read a government press release on Friday. Therefore, the Swiss prosecutor had to open proceedings against both AMAG and VW Switzerland.
The statement adds that AMAG is cooperating with the probe and has handed over evidence.