WASHINGTON Dec 9 A U.S. agency involved in
settlement talks with Volkswagen AG over its diesel
emissions scandal raised concerns about nearly two dozen mobile
phones destroyed or lost by the German carmaker.
The Federal Trade Commission said in a court filing dated
Thursday there were 23 lost or broken mobile phones the FTC was
not able to access, the agency said in the filing with the U.S.
District Court in San Francisco.
The filing said the 23 lost or broken phones were "a bright
red flag, especially when they include phones that belonged to
important individuals." It did not identify who the "important
individuals" were who used the phones.
In November, the FTC said in court documents that it has
been investigating since March whether Volkswagen Group of
America destroyed documents related to its "Dieselgate" scandal.
The filing by the FTC also said a witness sent by VW was
unprepared to testify about the lost or damaged telephones. It
did not identify the witness, but said the person was also
unwilling to discuss the company's termination of an employee,
Daniel Donovan, who the FTC said had told VW that data may have
been improperly deleted.
The filing follows an effort by the agency in November to
take additional testimony from Volkswagen.
In total, the world's second-largest automaker has agreed to
spend up to $16.5 billion in connection with the emissions
scandal, including payments to dealers, states and attorneys for
That agreement includes up to $10.033 billion to buy back as
many as 475,000 polluting cars and the $4.7 billion for zero
emission and diesel pollution offset programs.
Volkswagen is in intensive talks with the U.S. Justice
Department, the FTC, Environmental Protection Agency, California
and lawyers for vehicle owners resolving the fate of about
80,000 polluting vehicles. It still faces an ongoing U.S.
(Reporting by Diane Bartz and David Shepardson; Editing by