South Korea environment ministry to Sue Audi Volkswagen Head over emission cheating scandal

By Staff Writer

Jan 20, 2016 01:24 AM EST

South Korea's Ministry of Environment announced Tuesday that it will file criminal charges against Volkswagen AG's Korean office head Johannes Thammer. The complaint is based on the carmakers recall plan, which the ministry claimed did not reach the country's legal requirements.

Reuters reported that the complaint is the latest legal actions that has been hurled against Volkswagen after admitting that it cheated the US emissions tests on several of its diesel cars. South Korea fined the automaker 14.1 billion won, or $11.7 million, and demanded the recall of 125,522 Volkswagen cars.

Some of the cars that were recalled were Volkswagen's Beetle, Audi's Q series, and the Tiguan, which is South Korea's best selling import vehicle.

Two weeks ago, the German automaker submitted on a proposal to fix its vehicles as requested by the ministry. However, the ministry claimed that the company failed to explain the cause of the problem and how they could be fixed. Since the proposal lack key information, the ministry claimed that the carmaker failed to abide by the country's legal requirements.

The Wall Street Journal wrote that Mr. Thammer and other officials from the carmaker, as well as the powertrain-developer chief Friedrich Johann Eichler went to South Korea Tuesday to visit the ministry and passed a proposed fix. Volkswagen's Korean unit said in a statement that "Audi Volkswagen Korea is doing its utmost to resolve the emissions issue." It added, "We'll offer further explanation on our proposal."

Meanwhile, according to the Business Standard, Volkswagen is facing the same issues against the US environmental regulators. The automaker is being sued in several other countries besides South Korea after it admitted faking its emission tests.

Volkswagen's sales in South Korea increased in 2011 after a free-trade deal made it easier for European cars to enter the country. Its sales in the Asian country reached 167,043 units last year, a 23 percent increase from 2014, which also increased 29 percent from 2013.

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