Monday 11 December 2017

Volkswagen $4.3bn emissions scandal plea deal approved

Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg
Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg

Margaret Cronin Fisk

Volkswagen will pay a $4.3bn (€4bn) penalty for misleading US regulators and customers about its diesel engines' emissions after a federal judge approved the company's plea deal, moving the carmaker closer to resolving one of the biggest scandals in automotive history.

The criminal penalty approved by US District Judge Sean Cox in Detroit yesterday, constituting $2.8bn (€2.6bn) of the overall penalty, was part of a plea deal the company reached this year, requiring VW to plead guilty and submit to three years of probation.

Larry Thompson, who prosecuted Enron while at the US Justice Department and most recently was chief counsel at PepsiCo, will be installed as independent monitor to ensure compliance, prosecutors said.

The approval of the sentence turns the final page on the criminal probe of the company in the US. VW admitted in September 2015 that it had rigged as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide with so-called defeat devices to cheat on emissions tests.

The company has set aside $22.6bn (€21bn) to cover cheating-related expenses, with the largest share going to compensate consumers who sued in the US

The company isn't out of the woods. Still pending are investor lawsuits in the US and Germany and consumer suits in Germany and the UK.

There are also criminal investigations in Germany and the US, where seven executives have been charged. Prosecutors around the world are pressing forward with probes into the actions of others.

VW spokesman Nicolai Laude said yesterday that some of the executives who have been charged are still employed by the company and some are no longer there. He declined to specify numbers or why some left, citing privacy rules. (Bloomberg)

Irish Independent

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