German prosecutors search Fiat, Iveco offices

German prosecutors made last Wednesday searches in offices of several auto companies as part of an international fraud investigation into potentially illegal emissions software found in engines used in Fiat, Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Iveco vehicles, news wires reported.

The searches in Germany, Italy and Switzerland focus on individuals at an international automotive company and an international commercial vehicle manufacturer, the Frankfurt prosecutor’s office said in a statement. A Fiat Chrysler spokesman confirmed a number of the group’s offices in Europe were visited by investigators in the context of a request for assistance by magistrates in Germany, adding it was cooperating fully with authorities.

Potentially illegal software has been detected in the 1.3 litre Multijet and 1.6 litre Multijet engines used in Alfa Romeo, Jeep and Fiat engines as well as in commercial diesel engines used in Iveco and Fiat commercial vehicles, the Frankfurt prosecutors said. Although these cars passed pollution tests in a laboratory, the cars used software to largely switch off exhaust emissions filtering while driving on the road, they added.

The investigation, which is coordinated by EU justice agency EUROJUST, focuses on nine individuals living in Italy and their activities between 2014 to 2019, they said.

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