A South Korean court on Friday issued the first warrant for the arrest of a Volkswagen AG executive in connection with its cheating of vehicle emissions tests, in another blow to the German automaker's efforts to move on from the scandal.
The warrant is the first to be leveled against a Volkswagen executive anywhere in the world after the firm in September admitted to using software to falsify pollution tests on some diesel cars, spurring legal action in the United States, Germany, South Korea and elsewhere.
"This is just the beginning of the investigation," an official at the prosecution office said, declining to be named because the investigation was ongoing.
The executive at Volkswagen's South Korean subsidiary faced five accusations including fabrication of documents and violation of the Air Quality Preservation Law, Seoul Central District Court spokesman Shin Jae-hwan said.
"The court acknowledges the reason and the necessity of the arrest," he told Reuters, declining to give further details or name the executive.
A Volkswagen Korea spokeswoman declined to comment.
The developing criminal case in South Korea, Asia's No.2 diesel car market after India, is another setback for Europe's biggest carmaker as it faces global repercussions and potentially billions of dollars of costs over the scandal.
Sources in the United States on Thursday said Volkswagen would pay more than $10 billion to settle claims by nearly 500,000 owners and fund efforts to offset pollution.
German prosecutors on Monday said they were investigating former CEO Martin Winterkorn and another executive over whether they effectively manipulated markets by delaying the release of information about the emissions test cheating.
Volkswagen said in April it would set aside 16.2 billion euros ($18.2 billion) and slash its dividend to cover the costs from the scandal.