U.S. Congress Seeks VW Chief's Testimony Amid New Probe

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(Bloomberg) -- A U.S. House committee has begun a new investigation into allegations of overseas emissions cheating by Volkswagen AG and was seeking testimony from the automaker’s chief executive officer Herbert Diess.

In a letter, House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican, said the committee was investigating reports that Volkswagen "continues to circumvent global emissions requirements" and pointed out that the automaker’s headquarters was recently searched by the German authorities.

"Recently, the Science Committee obtained information from a confidential source supporting the law enforcement actions and raising concerns that VW is perpetuating this scheme in Europe and elsewhere globally," said the letter, which was also signed by another committee member, Dana Rohrabacher, a California Republican.

Information obtained by the committee indicates "that VW continues to struggle to comply with the applicable regulations, particularly in Europe," the lawmakers wrote.

Earlier: U.S. Monitor Criticizes VW Handling of Diesel Scandal

The letter, dated April 12, comes more than two years after VW’s scheme to cheat on U.S. emissions tests was made public, a scandal that rocked Europe’s largest automaker, led to the resignation of its then-chief executive officer and cost the company some $30 billion in fines from authorities and other related costs.

Company Responds 

A VW spokeswoman said in an email late Tuesday night that the company had "cooperated fully with U.S. government and regulatory agencies regarding its compliance with U.S. emissions standards." She added that "the committee appears to be seeking information outside its jurisdiction, including about diesel vehicle emissions and repairs in other countries."

Diess was named the company’s CEO earlier this month, taking over for former chief Matthias Mueller, the Porsche executive tapped to run the automaker after VW boss Martin Winterkorn resigned in 2015 in the wake of the disclosure of the emissions scheme. 

A settlement with the U.S. Justice Department placed an independent monitor at VW for three years to oversee the company’s internal reform effort. The first report by the monitor, Larry Thompson, to the Justice Department was critical of how VW has addressed the fallout of the scandal internally.

Related: VW’s Porsche Unit Manager Arrested in Emissions Probe

In a second letter, dated April 24, Smith asks Thompson for a copy of his report, which was not made public.

Smith said the committee remained concerned "that the use of stealth technology to avoid regulations could be used by VW or other companies in the future to deceive regulators in the U.S."

The committee plans to hold a hearing on the use of "advanced technologies to circumvent regulations" in June and requested Diess’ testimony as well as documents and other information from Volkswagen related to research, development and technology used to control emissions as well as current testing data.

In the letter to Diess, the committee asked VW to provide the requested documents by Thursday.

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