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Volkswagen sales halted amid forgery allegations

By Associated Press in Seoul | China Daily | Updated: 2016-08-03 07:39

South Korea has fined Volkswagen 17.8 billion won ($16 million) and suspended sales of 80 VW models, alleging that the German carmaker fabricated documents on emissions or noise level tests.

Ministry of Environment official Hong Dong-kon said the government revoked Volkswagen's certifications, effective from Tuesday, because submitting forged documents to authorities is illegal.

The South Korean government alleges that since 2007, Volkswagen AG has sold 83,000 Volkswagen, Audi and Bentley cars using the forged documents, including some models of the Golf, the Jetta, the Beetle and the Tiguan.

"Forging documents is a clear violation of the law that shakes the foundation of the auto certification system, so it is reasonable to revoke the certifications," Hong told reporters. He said the measure would not affect the owners of these cars.

Volkswagen likely forged documents to expedite imports of its cars, Hong said. When importing the Audi A7 to South Korea, for example, it submitted the test results for the A6, which it has not sold in the country.

Volkswagen officials said during a hearing last week that the company had made "revisions" to the documents, according to the ministry's statement.

But the company objected to the sales ban, describing it as excessive, because the vehicles still met the emissions and noise-level standards. It normally takes three months to get vehicles certified by the government before sales.

Audi Volkswagen Korea apologized and said resolving the matter as soon as possible is its top priority.

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