German auto supplier Robert Bosch GmbH was a “knowing and active participant” in a decade-long scheme by Volkswagen AG to evade U.S. emissions laws, according to lawyers for U.S. owners of polluting VW diesel vehicles.
In a court filing late on Tuesday in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, the lawyers cited confidential documents turned over by the German automaker to plaintiffs attorneys in making the new allegations against the auto supplier.
Most of the allegations involving Bosch remain under seal because the documents have been designated as confidential by VW, the plaintiffs’ lawyers said in the court filing.
A Bosch spokeswoman said the company took the allegations seriously and is cooperating in several investigations, but declined to comment further.
“Bosch played a crucial role in the fraudulent enterprise and profited handsomely from it,” the court papers say.
Bosch supplied software and components to VW but has said responsibility for how software is used to regulate exhaust emissions or fuel consumption lies with carmakers.
In the court papers, the attorneys said Bosch had worked “hand-in-glove” with Volkswagen to develop a so-called cheat device to circumvent emissions tests and trick regulators.
The engine control system for VW‘s clean diesel engine was customized through years of close collaboration between the carmaker and Bosch, the lawyers said.
“It is inconceivable,” the attorneys wrote, “that Bosch did not know that the software it was responsible for defining, developing, testing, maintaining and delivering contained an illegal defeat device.”
Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner said in January he had ordered an internal investigation and was cooperating with authorities. In April, Bosch said it had set aside 650 million euros for potential legal costs, including for an ongoing investigation into the company’s role in Volkswagen’s diesel emissions manipulation scandal.
– Article published on Fortune