Volkswagen to pay $2.8-billion criminal fine in USA diesel emission scandal

Volkswagen to pay $2.8 billion in US diesel emission scandal

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox approved Volkswagen's plea agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) in January. "It's always the little guy".

On Friday a judge ordered Volkswagen to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty in the United States for cheating on diesel emissions tests, blessing a deal negotiated by the government for a "massive fraud" orchestrated by the German automaker.

Part of the agreement calls for federal monitoring of future business operations.

On March 10, the manufacturer pleaded guilty in the USA court in Detroit admitting that almost 600,000 of its diesel cars in the United States were programmed to cheat the emissions tests.

Cox urged the German government to "prosecute those responsible for this deliberate massive fraud that has damaged an iconic automobile company".

Neal argued that 95% of those who owned Volkswagen's with affected diesel engines are participating in the civil settlement that allows owners to either sell their vehicle back to the company or terminate their lease without an early termination penalty.

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Including a separate $1.5 billion civil penalty, Volkswagen agreed to pay a total of $4.3 billion to settle the U.S. Justice Department probe.

Seven employees have also been charged with crimes in the US, but five are in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited.

Before Cox imposed his sentence Manfred Doess, the automaker's general counsel, again appeared on behalf of the world's largest automaker to apologize and vowed that the company's corporate culture is changing. "Plain and simple, it was wrong", he said.

"The agreements that we have reached with the USA government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear", the statement said, in part.

USA regulators confronted VW about the cheating software after West Virginia University researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide.

Larry Thompson, a deputy attorney general under former President George W. Bush, has been named to lead the independent monitoring team at Volkswagen, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Neal said. "Volkswagen today is not the same company that it was 18 months ago", he said.

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