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Friday, 21 April 2017

Dieselgate: $4.3 billion in U.S. fines and penalties

Several sources report that a Federal judge has imposed the criminal penalty mooted in January for VW importing 590,000 illegally polluting diesel vehicles into the US from 2009. A plea agreement, whereby VW admitted conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and introducing important merchanidise into the US by means of false statements, required the car maker to pay $2.8 billion (£2.2 billion) in fines and $1.5 billion (£1.2  billion) in civil penalties: it also demanded that VW continue to co-operate with Federal and state investigators. An independent monitor would be appointed for three years, and other conditions were to be imposed to ensure compliance in the future. Without the plea agreement, the US government said that the manufacturer faced potential fines of between $17 billion and $34 billion.

US District Judge Sean Cox, in the District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, has now confirmed the settlement, while expressing the hope that continuing investigations will turn up more information about where responsibility lay, leading to the prosecution of the individuals concerned. He expressed the view that it was not the management of VW who would suffer but those who labour to make the car, who would be denied bonuses because of the cost to the company of dealing with the fraud.

The Department of Justice has appointed former US Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson as the independent monitor.

VW continues to buy back affected models, and faces civil litigation in the US and criminal investigations and claims elsewhere. Seven executives also face charges in the US.

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