VW UNDER-FIRE: US prosecutors are at loggerheads with Volkswagen over the company's refusal to share documents related to its emissions-cheating scandal. Image: AFP/ Scott Olson
New York - Volkswagen has been uncooperative with US states probing its emissions-cheating technology, citing German privacy law in refusing to share documents, two prosecutors said Friday (January 8 2016).
The German auto giant has fallen far short of its public pledges of cooperation, said sharply worded statements from the attorneys general of New York and Connecticut, who are leading a VW probe by more than 40 US states in parallel with an ongoing US federal investigation.
'Slow to produce documents'
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said: "Volkswagen's cooperation with the states' investigation has been spotty, and frankly, more of the kind one expects from a company in denial than one seeking to leave behind a culture of admitted deception.
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"It has been slow to produce documents from its US files, it has sought to delay responses until it completes its 'independent investigation' several months from now, and it has failed to pursue every avenue to overcome the obstacles it says that German privacy law presents to turning over emails from its executives' files in Germany. Our patience with Volkswagen is wearing thin."
Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen, one of six state officials leading the probe, said the states will "seek to use any means available to us" to hold Volkswagen accountable.
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Jepsen said: "I find it frustrating that, despite public statements professing cooperation and an expressed desire to resolve the various investigations that it faces following its calculated deception, Volkswagen is, in fact, resisting cooperation by citing German law."
The statements come on the heels of a lawsuit filed Monday by the US Department of Justice that seeks more than $20 billion in damages and said its probe was "impeded and obstructed by material omissions and misleading information provided by VW."
Volkswagen has repeatedly apologised for the scandal in which it admitted installing emissions-cheating technology on more than 11-million diesel engines worldwide, in vehicles of the model years 2009 through 2015.
In response to a request for comment Friday, a Volkswagen spokesman said the company has been responsive to US officials.
The spokesman said: "We co-operate closely with the US investigation authorities, we cannot comment on a pending investigation."