Workers union files criminal complaint against Volkswagen Spain over dieselgate

A criminal complaint brought against Volkswagen AG's three Spanish affiliates and their chairmen accuses them of rigging emissions tests defrauding consumers and the tax authorities and damaging the environment.

Volkswagen Audi SA chairman James Morys Muir, Volkswagen Navarra SA chairman Ulbrich Thomas and Seat SA chairman Francisco Javier Garcia Sanz have been named in the complaint.

The private suit was filed by Manos Limpias, a public workers' union that had pursued corruption allegations against high-profile figures in Spain including the king's sister.

The union filed the private suit with the National Court on Monday.

According to Bloomberg, which claims to have accessed a copy of the lawsuit, the Spanish state could face a civil liability for failing to adequately supervise the automaker.

German prosecutors had already launched a criminal probe of the car maker that would examine the role of former chief executive officer Martin Winterkorn.

Winterkorn resigned on Friday in the wake of the scandal after Volkswagen admitted to tampering with some diesel engines to cheat on US emissions tests (See: Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn quits over `Dieselgate').

Volkswagen and its SEAT unit had built over 500,000 cars in Spain with the 1.6- and 2.0-litre diesel motors subject to the German investigation, according to the lawsuit filed by Manos Limpias.

SEAT has become the latest VW Group manufacturer to come clean on how many of its cars were affected by the dieselgate scandal.

According to the manufacturer, 700,000 of its cars had been fitted with the software which would trick US emission tests.

The number of these vehicles sold in Europe was not known for certain but it was thought to be a large proportion.

According to SEAT's owner, Volkswagen Group, 11 million of its cars were affected. Broken down brand-by-brand these are:

5 million
2.1 million
1.2 million
0.7 million
1.8 million

The emission cheating scandal involving German auto giant Volkswagen escalated on Tuesday with Skoda, an auto brand under Volkswagen, reporting that about 1.2 million cars by the Czech manufacturer have been fitted with pollution cheating software.(Skoda adds 1.2 million cars to Volkswagen's emission cheating list).