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Volkswagen execs deny wrongdoing at first court hearing on emissions scandal

All News 15:42 April 13, 2017

SEOUL, April 13 (Yonhap) -- Attorneys for former and current executives of Volkswagen's South Korean unit implicated in an emissions cheating scandal denied their involvement during the first court hearing on Thursday.

After a year-long investigation, prosecutors indicted Johannes Thammer, who led Audi Volkswagen Korea (AVK) from late 2012, on charges of violating the Clean Air Conservation Act to win sales approval from local authorities.

His predecessor Trevor Hill, who currently works at the German headquarters, and Park Dong-hoon, who headed AVK's Volkswagen division from 2005 to 2013, also face similar charges. Park now heads Renault Samsung Motors Co.

During the first preparatory hearing held at the Seoul Central District Court, Thammer's legal representative said he was not aware that the cars implicated in the scandal did not meet the local emissions standard.

Park's attorney also denied the allegations, saying the former executive is not even well aware of what prosecutors have laid out as factual relations.

Prosecutors suspect that the defendants imported some 120,000 vehicles in 15 models, whose emissions systems were manipulated, from 2008 to 2015.

The automaker is also accused of fabricating reports to get approval from the local government. Prosecutors said such irregularities took place from as early as August 2010 to January 2015.

One of its executives -- who was in charge of the vehicle certification process, identified only by his surname Yoon -- was first indicted in July and received a jail term of one year and a half from the court in January. He is standing trial with the other executives after prosecutors additionally charged him.

The next preparatory hearing is slated for May 24.

This file photo taken on Feb. 19, 2016, shows the Seoul headquarters of Audi Volkswagen, as it is raided by prosecutors investigating the German carmaker's faked emissions test results. The environment ministry had filed a petition with the prosecution in January against the automaker for not providing full information about its recall plans. (Yonhap)


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