WASHINGTON -- A former distributor of Skoda vehicles in Egypt who's embroiled in a dispute with Volkswagen Group denied allegations by the company that he has fueled a U.S. congressional probe of the automaker.
Mohamed Shafik Gabr, chairman of the Artoc Group for Investment and Development, in a statement from the auto division of his company, rejected the allegation that he was manipulating a U.S. House panel's inquiry of VW.
The U.S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee opened an investigation in April into allegations of overseas emissions cheating by Volkswagen. Committee Chairman Lamar Smith of Texas and committee member Dana Rohrabacher of California, both Republicans, have made several requests for testimony from Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess and company documents related to the effort.
In a July 2 letter to Smith and Rohrabacher, VW attorney Robert Giuffra said the committee's interest in the automaker has stemmed from the head of VW's former Skoda distributor in Egypt, Gabr, in a bid to pressure VW into paying him "an unreasonable amount" to resolve a breakup of his business relationship with VW.
In the statement, Gabr said the company is seeking compensation from Volkswagen related to their dispute and that the effort is separate from actions taken by U.S. lawmakers.