South Korea to slap VW with record fine, pursue executives over emissions ads

South Korea's antitrust watchdog said on Wednesday it will file criminal complaints against several executives at Volkswagen AG's South Korean unit and fine the company a record 37.3 billion won ($31.87 million) for false advertising over its vehicle emissions.

The fine, a record for false advertising in the Asian country, indicates South Korean authorities are in no mood to soften their particularly tough line on the German carmaker's emissions-test cheating, having already suspended most of its sales in the country since August.

The Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said it would ask prosecutors to investigate Volkswagen's headquarters, its South Korean unit and five former and current executives including Andr�� Konsbruck, currently vice president of sales for the Americas at Volkswagen unit Audi, and Audi's Head of Sales Overseas Terence Bryce Johnsson.

The regulator said Volkswagen falsely advertised its cars as environmentally friendly vehicles that met pollution standards, although they were equipped with defeat devices designed to deceive government tests.

(Reporting by Hyunjoo Jin; Editing by Stephen Coates)