* 230 staff involved in Daimler raids
* Stuttgart public prosecutor leads probe
* Raids tied to fraud probe, exhaust manipulation
(Adds prosecutor's statement)
FRANKFURT, May 23 German prosecutors searched
Daimler sites on Tuesday as part of a fraud probe related to
false advertising and the possible manipulation of exhaust-gas
after-treatment in diesel cars, the German carmaker said in a
Carmakers across the globe have faced increased regulatory
scrutiny over anti-pollution tests since Volkswagen AG
admitted in September 2015 to installing secret
software allowing its cars to emit up to 40 times legally
allowed pollution levels.
Daimler declined in its statement to elaborate on the raids,
beyond saying it was cooperating with authorities.
The Stuttgart public prosecutor's office said 23 prosecutors
and around 230 staff, including police and state criminal
authorities, were involved in searching 11 sites in the German
states of Baden-Wuerttemberg, Berlin, Lower Saxony and Saxony on
the lookout for data files and evidence.
The searches were initiated in the course of investigations
"against known and unknown employees at Daimler, who are
suspected of fraud and misleading advertising connected to
manipulated emissions treatment of diesel passenger cars," the
Stuttgart prosecutor's office said.
It had said in March it had launched an investigation
against employees at Daimler, which owns the Mercedes-Benz
brand, on suspicion of fraud and misleading advertising.
In April, the Stuttgart-based carmaker warned that U.S.
authorities had investigated diesel emissions pollution and
so-called auxiliary emission control devices, which could lead
to significant penalties and vehicle recalls.
Earlier this month, the German automaker dropped plans to
seek U.S. approval to sell 2017 Mercedes-Benz diesel models.
(Reporting by Edward Taylor and Ilona Wissenbach; Editing by