13:01 GMT18 June 2021
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    Earlier, in 2017, Germany’s Spiegel magazine reported that VW, Daimler, and BMW had been coordinating their activities concerning diesel emissions controls, costs, development strategies and suppliers since the 1990s.

    "The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess whether BMW, Daimler, and VW (Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche) colluded, in a breach of EU antitrust rules, to avoid competition in the development and roll-out of technology to clean the emissions of petrol and diesel passenger cars," the commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

    READ MORE: Germany's Daimler AG Suspends Activities in Iran Due to Reimposed US Sanctions

    The anti-trust probe in the EU started three years after reports that VW had installed software in millions of its diesel cars in order to cheat emissions controls.

    "If proven, this collusion may have denied consumers the opportunity to buy less polluting cars, despite the technology being available to the manufacturers," EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager noted.

    The emission scandal caused considerable damage to the VW group, which owns 19 car brands, including Audi and Mercedes-Benz, leading to the arrest of Audi CEO Rupert Stadler on June 18, 2018 and forcing the company to pay at least $32 bln in order to settle the lawsuits. In addition, Volkswagen faces up to $10 bln in further claims from its customers and investors.


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