12:49 GMT +317 November 2019
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    The logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is seen at the Volkswagen (VW) automobile manufacturing plant in Puebla near Mexico City September 23, 2015

    US Makes Unexpected Move in VW Emissions Inquiry

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    US authorities are expanding their investigation against German Volkswagen AG over emissions, media reported.

    The US Department of Justice is planning to apply the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act, FIRREA, which has been repeatedly used against banks after 2008 crisis.

    The Act will be used to investigate violations not directly related to the financial industry for the first time in history of the country's banking legislation.

    Using the law this way "is pushing the legal theory to its outermost limits, against a defendant that is not particularly sympathetic,'' Columbia University's professor John Coffee told the Wall Street Journal.

    The VW-scandal first made headlines in September 2015 after the EPA found the company had installed special computer software in its cars with diesel engines that enabled it to cheat during pollution emissions inspections. The total number of vehicles affected is more than 11 million, media reported.

    According to Spiegel Online, the cars were originally presented as environmentally friendly and lost much of their value after the scandal.

    The new probe will among others look at possible violations of tax laws by the corporation. The investigation comes after German prosecutors expanded the list of suspects up to 17 people.

    Related:

    Number of Suspects in Volkswagen Emissions Fraud Scandal Rises to 17
    Volkswagen Owners to Hold 1st Meeting With Workers After Emission Scandal
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    emissions scandal, inquiry, Volkswagen, Europe, United States
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