Swiss prosecutors to drop criminal probe of Volkswagen emissions scandal

by SpeedLux
Volkswagen logo

Federal prosecutors in Switzerland are set to drop an almost five-year criminal investigation into the diesel emissions scandal of Volkswagen after concluding they did not have a strong enough case to file charges.

The Office of the Attorney General said on Tuesday that it had informed the automaker and its Swiss dealership arm this month that it considers the investigation to have been finished and intends to drop the case.

The defendants and private plaintiffs can still evaluate the case file and submit more evidence before the case is formally closed.

Volkswagen confessed in 2015 to cheating emissions tests on diesel engines, a scandal that has cost it over 30 billion dollars in regulatory fines and vehicle refits, largely in the United States.

Swiss prosecutors started criminal proceedings after a court ruled they must carry out their own investigation into hundreds of complaints lodged in Switzerland.

The case centered on the potential damage to around 175,000 consumers who bought or leased Volkswagen’s automobiles having diesel motors that at least some of the automaker’s officials must have known had been manipulated.

Broadcaster Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) said Swiss plaintiffs could still claim damages through civil law, noting the automaker has already paid out billions abroad.

“But without official culprits, such proceedings in Switzerland are very costly and difficult for individuals,” the statement noted.

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