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German prosecutors suspect suicide in death of suspended VW employee

FILE PHOTO: A logo of German carmaker Volkswagen is seen on a car parked on a street in Paris, France, July 9, 2020. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann/File Photo

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German prosecutors are treating the death of a man believed to have played a role in a dispute between Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE and Bosnian supplier group Prevent as a likely suicide, they said on Friday.

Prosecutors in the city of Braunschweig said last week they were looking into the death of the man found in a burned-out car for links to a Volkswagen (VW) employee suspended for allegedly illegally recording conversations.

Local newspaper Helmstedter Nachrichten, citing unidentified sources, said last week the dead person was a VW employee who had done business with the Bosnian supplier group and was being investigated for eavesdropping.

Prosecutors said on Friday initial evidence pointed to suicide, but the probe had not been concluded.

They would not comment on the identity of the deceased, saying only he was the owner of the car.

VW and the Bosnian supplier group fell out in 2016 in a disagreement over pricing, prompting Prevent subsidiaries to halt deliveries of seat covers and cast iron parts for gear boxes, causing production losses at six of VW’s factories.

VW and Prevent have since been involved in claims and counterclaims for damages caused by the dispute.

VW said on Friday it was shocked by the incident and that it would support prosecutors where possible.

“To our knowledge there is so far no reliable information on what led to the incident,” the carmaker said.

Reporting by Jan Schwartz; Writing by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mark Potter

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