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Bosch 'Profited Handsomely' From Role In VW Dieselgate Scandal

Far from being a silent partner, Robert Bosch actively participated and "profited handsomely" from its Dieselgate scandal involvement.

Several months ago, the name Robert Bosch surfaced in news reports about Volkswagen’s ongoing self-inflicted diesel-emissions scandal. At the time, the reports hinted that Bosch played a big part in the affair. Now, court papers filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco paint a picture that shows the automotive supply giant played a crucial role in the development of the Dieselgate “defeat switch” and related control hardware and software that enabled the whole scheme to occur.

Bloomberg News, in a report today, said that Bosch played a major role in developing the scamware central to Dieselgate, as long ago as the 1990s. The allegations were made in papers filed by lawyers for VW owners who sued the automaker over the entire Dieselgate affair. The court paperwork indicates that Bosch actively participated in the “decade-long conspiracy with VW.”

Bosch Was An Important Part

The automotive supply firm has been, along with VW, a defendant in the class-action suit that has played out in the San Francisco courthouse. Bosch was not included in the final settlement talks that saw the deal between the U.S. and VW where the automaker agreed to set aside up to $15.3 billion to buy back vehicle affected by Dieselgate and set up an environmental remediation fund.

According to the evidence the car owners’ legal team obtained, Bosch was an active participant to the point that the firm designed the scheme that enabled the VW plan to remain hidden for so long (from 2009 to 2015, the automaker marketed its “clean diesel” technology even as the vehicles were really failing the emissions tests).

Armed with Bosch-provided software, the court information said, VWs were able to fool lab or smog station tests into thinking the vehicles were clean and complied with emissions standards. The software allowed Bosch and VW to sell the bogus technology as real, pushing the supplier to lobby for U.S. approval of the vehicles included in the Dieselgate settlement.

Bosch Role Didn’t Impact Settlement

Bosch claims it takes the allegations of wrongdoing seriously and is reportedly cooperating in several investigations. A spokesman declined further comment. VW also declined comment on most of the material. However, it did say that the information had no impact on the civil suit settlement in Dieselgate.

Most of the information gathered about Bosch is under seal in court because the documents have been labeled confidential by VW, plaintiffs’ attorneys said in their court filing. The information includes items such as an email in 2011 to the California Air Resources Board that shows the supply firm’s “deep understanding of what regulators allowed and would not allow and what Bosch did to help VW obtain approval.” Court papers show that the supply firm had a “crucial role in the fraudulent enterprise and profited handsomely from it.”