French Authorities Investigate Renault Emissions, Company Denies Wrongdoing

French authorities raided Renault company premises after Volkswagen was found to have used engine software to cheat on U.S. diesel emissions tests.

The probe is based on an initial investigation by the French economy ministry's fraud department, which handed its findings to prosecutors in November.

In a statement, Renault denied using any so-called defeat devices to cheat on emissions tests and said it complies with all French and European regulations.

The probe follows the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal, which emerged in September 2015. Three French judges will look into whether the matter is due to cheating by Renault.

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Renault shares were trading 2.4% lower at €84.16 by late morning, having opened more than 1% higher.

The investigation comes one day after USA environmental regulators accused automaker Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) of installing software on 100,000 diesel-powered cars and trucks to cheat on emissions tests.

At issue is software installed in all modern diesel vehicles that calibrates an engine's performance and controls emissions levels.

Tentacles of the Volkswagen scandal are continuing to reach across the industry more than a year later: The U.S. government accused Fiat Chrysler on Thursday of failing to disclose software in some vehicles that allows them to emit more pollution than allowed.

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It was large discrepancies between laboratory and on-road testing that first tipped off USA investigators that Volkswagen used emissions-cheating software.

The judges deliberations will center on the systems used by Renault to test its engines and whether or not the company substantially cheated and falsified tests, resulting in their products "posing a health risk to humans and animals", according to a report that first appeared on the French newswire AFP.

The cases have echoes of one against Volkswagen, which on Wednesday pleaded guilty to criminal conspiracy as part of an emissions-cheating scheme.

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