A lawsuit has been filed in the US against German engineering and electronics company Bosch because of the firm’s participation in Volkswagen’s emission-cheating practices.
The lawsuit, filed by a New York diesel owner in US District Court in Detroit, states that Bosch’s "hear no evil, see no evil" attitude is no excuse for enabling the car maker to cheat in emission tests by providing the controversial software.
"Volkswagen's fraudulent scheme was facilitated and aided and abetted by defendant Bosch, which created the software used in Volkswagen's defeat device," states the 56-page lawsuit, which accuses Bosch together with VW, its former CEO Martin Winterkorn and current chief executive Michael Horn of violating civil racketeering laws and consumer fraud.
"As early as 2007, Bosch warned Volkswagen that using its software in vehicles that were driven on the road would constitute a criminal offense. Nevertheless, Bosch proceeded to sell or license 11 million of the component devices to Volkswagen over the next seven years," the lawsuit continues.
The lawsuit cited a report from Germany's Bild am Sonntag newspaper in September that said VW's internal probe had found a 2007 letter from Bosch that also warned against the possible illegal use of Bosch-supplied software technology.
Under US law, that would make Bosch a co-conspirator under anti-racketeering laws, making the company liable for triple damages for the fraud caused to US consumers, the lawsuit says.
Last month, Reuters reported that federal prosecutors with the US Justice Department were examining whether Bosch knowingly participated in Volkswagen's sustained efforts to circumvent US diesel emissions tests.
Bosch built key components in the diesel engine used in six Volkswagen models and one Audi model that the automaker has admitted to rigging in order to defeat emissions tests.
The probe in to Bosch is at an early stage and there is no indication that US prosecutors have found evidence of wrongdoing at Bosch, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.
A US Bosch spokeswoman declined to offer an immediate comment on the lawsuit. Bosch previously declined to comment on the investigation.
Bosch also faces similar class-action lawsuits in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Alabama and Alexandria, Virginia.
A US judicial panel will meet in New Orleans Thursday to consider consolidating more than 350 lawsuits filed against VW in connection with the emissions scandal. VW and the Justice Department want the lawsuits centralized in Detroit.