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(2nd LD) S. Korea approves Volkswagen's recall plan on faked emissions vehicles

All News 15:16 January 12, 2017

(ATTN: CLARIFIES paras 2-3)

SEOUL, Jan. 12 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government said Thursday it has approved German carmaker Volkswagen's recall measures for its sports utility vehicles that were found to have been sold in the country using fake emissions-related documentation.

The Ministry of Environment said the recall plan for 27,000 Tiguans submitted by the auto giant met the country's emissions and fuel efficiency standards.

Under the plan, the carmaker said it would improve fuel efficiency and remove the so-called defeat device which was used to fake the emissions results. The device detects when a car is being tested and changes emission levels to make it look as though they meet local environmental standards.

After the carmaker's emissions scandal broke out in the United States in September 2015, the Seoul government launched an investigation and found that some 126,000 vehicles were manipulating emissions results with the defeat device.

It slapped a 14.1 billion won (US$12.5 million) fine on the carmaker and ordered a recall of the problematic vehicles in November that year.

State prosecutors on Wednesday wrapped up their year-long probe into the company and said they indicted a total of seven former and current staff at the carmaker, including the Korean unit chief Johannes Thammer.

One of them -- executive in charge vehicle certification process, identified only by his last name Yoon -- was first indicted in July and handed a year and a half jail term by a local court on Friday.

The government said it will accept the recall measures for the remaining 99,000 vehicles and check if they are effective.

This file photo taken on Feb. 19, 2016, shows the Seoul headquarters of Volkswagen Korea. (Yonhap)


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