French car manufacturer Renault has been implicated in emissions testing fraud, a report has found.
News agency Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported that documents it obtained reveal the entire top management of the company, including chief executive Carlos Ghosn, were implicated in the fraud.
According to the report, investigators believe that the company has been employing “fraudulent strategies” to defraud emissions testing. They believe these have been in place as early as 1990, when the first Renault Clio was released.
The car manufacturer earlier on Wednesday issued a statement denying equipping their vehicles with software that allowed them to appear to be less polluting in testing than they were in real-life conditions.
The statement was issued after French newspaper Liberation reported to have obtained a document from the Economy Ministry which conducted an investigation into emissions from two Renault models, the Renault Captur and Clio IV, that released emissions that exceeded the legal limit by more than 300% in real-life conditions.
The ministry handed its findings to prosecutors in November last year.
Last year, Renault recalled 15 000 cars as a result of emitting excessive levels of harmful gases. The company insisted that it was innocent of any wrongdoing.
Renault is not the first car manufacturer to be embroiled in an emissions scandal.
In 2015, Volkswagen of Germany admitted to installing what was called “defeat devices” into 11 million diesel vehicles internationally. The devices were designed to reduce emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides during regulatory testing of engines.
The German car manufacturer has already agreed to pay more than $19 billion in fines.
United States regulators in January accused Fiat Chrysler of cheating tests. If found guilty, the company could face a fine of up to $4.6 billion.