Bosch Sued In Federal Court Over VW Role

Robert Bosch GmbH has been accused of conspiring with Volkswagen AG to evade diesel emissions standards in at least 11 million vehicles worldwide in a class action lawsuit filed earlier this week.

The 56-page lawsuit, filed by a New York diesel owner in U.S. District Court in Detroit alleges that "Volkswagen's fraudulent scheme was facilitated and aided and abetted by defendant Bosch, which created the software used in Volkswagen's defeat device.

"Bosch's Hear no evil, See no evil' rationale for knowingly profiting from Volkswagen's crimes does not enable Bosch to escape civil liability under American law."
The lawsuit states that "as early as 2007, Bosch warned Volkswagen that using its software in vehicles that were driven on the road would constitute a criminal offense."

The suit cited German media reports that indicated that VW's internal probe had turned up a 2007 letter from Bosch that also warned against the possible illegal use of Bosch-supplied software technology. “Nevertheless," the filing stated, “Bosch proceeded to sell or license 11 million of the component devices to Volkswagen over the next seven years."

Under U.S. law, that could make Bosch a co-conspirator under anti-racketeering laws, and the company could be liable for triple damages for the fraud caused to U.S. consumers.

Reuters reported last month that federal prosecutors with the U.S. Justice Dept. are examining whether Bosch knew or participated in Volkswagen's years-long efforts to circumvent U.S. diesel emissions tests. Bosch supplied components in the diesel engines used in six Volkswagen models and one Audi model that the automaker has admitted to rigging to defeat emissions tests.

The probe of Bosch is at an early stage and there is no indication that U.S. prosecutors have found evidence of wrongdoing at Bosch, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

Bosch also faces similar class-action lawsuits in Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Alabama and Alexandria, Virginia. A U.S. judicial panel is set to meet to consider consolidating more than 350 lawsuits filed against VW in connection with the emissions scandal. VW and the Justice Dept. want the lawsuits centralized in Detroit.

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