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German prosecutors have raided several Audi offices as a criminal investigation into diesel cheating in cars sold in the US expands.

The probe relates to 80,000 V6 3.0-liter diesel engine cars sold by the marque in the US between 2009 and 2015.

“There is a suspicion that these vehicles were fitted with technical devices to manipulate emissions, in order to comply with the US emission limits,” a statement from the German prosecutor’s office said.

Volkswagen, which owns Audi, has admitted to fitting cheating software in 11m cars worldwide that concealed diesel emissions when in official laboratory tests.

The German carmaker has since set aside $24bn to cover the costs of the scandal, and pled guilty to criminal charges in the US.

Audi has set aside $1.7bn to cover the costs of the scandal.

The raids on Audi’s sites in Germany took place only hours before the marque’s management held an annual media and investor day in Ingolstadt, Germany. The company had hoped to use the event to talk about the future, rather than the revelations that came to light in late 2015.

A statement from the German prosecutor’s office said that prosecutors and police officers executed search warrants at Audi sites as well as seven other locations. The searches were designed to clarify which individuals had been involved in the technology and “had provided incorrect statements to third parties”.

It is not clear whether the seven other locations were homes of company employees.

When asked on Wednesday at the media day if his home had been searched as part of the investigations, Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler said he did not know as he had been at the venue since early morning.

The company said it was co-operating with authorities.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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