WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US Justice Department said on Thursday (Sept 24) it was taking the allegations against the German automaker Volkswagen "very seriously," highlighting the potential health implications of the emissions test cheating scandal.
"The Department of Justice is working closely with the EPA in the investigation into these allegations," a department spokesman said.
"We take these allegations, and their potential implications for public health and air pollution in the United States, very seriously."
Regulators from the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board on Sept 18 accused Volkswagen of designing a clean-air cheating device software to evade US limits on nitrogen oxide and other pollutants.
The EPA referred the case to the Justice Department.
The department's environment and natural resources division has opened an investigation, a person familiar with the matter told AFP on Tuesday.
Volkswagen chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned over the scandal, which has drawn international condemnation.