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Volkswagen has said that it will take “every action” at its disposal against prosecutors who searched Jones Day.
Earlier this week, we read that a team of investigators from the Munich prosecutor’s office (among others) had conducted a raid of Audi’s two largest factories as well as a number offices and private residences associated with both VW and Audi.
Controversially, though, the raids also targeted Jones Day, the law firm that VW tasked with conducting an internal investigation of the dieselgate scandal.
Jones Day’s investigation exonerated members of VW’s management board, but did find wrongdoing by some high ranking officials. A summary of the investigation was handed over to US Department of Justice, but VW never published the full findings of the investigation.
VW has stated that it views the raid as a “clear breach of the principles of the rule of law laid down in the Code of Criminal Procedure,” according to a press release published on March 16.
In northern German Federal states prosecutors aren’t allowed to conduct searches of law firms, but there is no German-wide ruling on the matter, so there’s a grey zone there that the prosecutors’ offices could use to their advantage, according to Werner Beulke, a legal scholar who spoke to Automotive News.
Beulke also explained that Jones Day’s investigation may potentially not fall under the protection of client attorney privilege because there is a bit of interpretation to do when a law firm isn’t formally tasked with representing a particular individual.
Volkswagen, though, feels that precedent is behind it. Raiding a law firm breeches the rule of law, says VW, “this been expressly confirmed by the Federal Constitutional Court in the case of another law firm.”