Volkswagen fraud investigations.

19 December 2015 8:33 am

First it cheated on emissions tests; now Volkswagen has come under fire for potentially misusing billions of euros in EU funds. The irony: the money was meant to fuel the development of eco-friendly engines.

European anti-fraud investigators are looking into whether Volkswagen misused hundreds of millions of dollars in low-interest loans — threatening a significant source of funding for the crisis-crippled automaker.

The New York Times reports that Volkswagen admitting it rigged 11 million diesel engines to fool emissions tests now has investigators asking whether the firm misused loans made by the publicly financed European Investment Bank that were intended primarily for projects meant to reduce the carmaker’s environmental impact. The loans have totaled 9.5 billion euros, or $US10.4 billion, since 2000.

Jack Ewing at the New York Times reports: “The investigation, which is in “a preliminary stage,” is looking into whether the loans “could be linked to the production of engines or devices implicated in the manipulation of the real level of gas emissions of vehicles,” according to a statement from the European Anti-Fraud Office. The new inquiry follows one underway by the European Investment Bank itself, which is funded by European Union countries. In October, the bank said it was looking into whether any of the loans it provided to Volkswagen were used to develop illegal software to evade emissions tests.”

And the scandal is getting wider.

The Wall Street Journal reports that German auto parts maker Stuttgart-based Bosch is being investigated for its role in the emissions crisis. The investigation is targeting unidentified Bosch employees who assisted in installing engine control software as part of a routine contract. No Bosch employee has been charged with wrongdoing, as yet.