Volkswagen could be in for some more legal trouble.
The French government has opened a formal “aggravated fraud” investigation into VW after it was discovered that the German automaker rigged millions of its cars with emissions cheating software, Reuters reported.
According to Reuters, investigation centres around the nearly 950,000 affected cars the German automaker sold in France.
The investigation comes after the French authorities raided VW’s offices in Paris and other parts of the country last October seizing documents and computer hardware.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency: Cars with Volkswagen’s EA189-series 2-litre TDI turbo-diesel four-cylinder engines features software that detects when the car is undergoing emissions testing and turns on a suite of pollution-control systems.
But as soon as the test ends, the controls switch off, leaving the engine free to emit up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide, a highly polluting gas. According to the California Air Resources Board, Volkswagen admitted to using a defeat device during a September 3, 2015 meeting with the agency and the EPA.
In September, the California Air Resources Board and the EPA both issued notices of violation to Volkswagen Group concerning nearly 500,000 2.0-litre TDI diesel-powered vehicles sold in the US from 2009 and 2015.
The scandal eventually spread around the world — affecting more than 11 million cars. The scandal — dubbed “dieselgate” — led to the dismissal of VW CEO Martin Winterkorn, as well as several high-ranking engineers.
Volkswagen did not immediately return request for comment.
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