Published: Sat, April 22, 2017
Markets | By Terence Owen

Sentence next for Volkswagen in US diesel emissions scandal

Sentence next for Volkswagen in US diesel emissions scandal

A United States judge on Friday sentenced Volkswagen (IOB: 0P6N.IL - news) to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty in the diesel emissions cheating scandal, in line with a deal struck between the automaker and the U.S. government.

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

The sentencing was one of the last major hurdles to VW moving past a scandal that led to the ouster of its chief executive and tarnished the company's reputation worldwide.

Judge Sean Cox is holding a hearing Friday morning in federal court in Detroit.

The fine was part of a $4.3 billion plea agreement with the federal government that was drafted in January.

As well as accepting the agreement reached between VW and the US government, Cox rejected separate calls from lawyers representing individual VW customers for restitution.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and obstruction of justice and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion penalty for a brazen scheme to program almost 600,000 vehicles to cheat on United States emissions tests.

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The government also said VW agreed to pay an additional $1.5 billion to settle the EPA's claim for civil penalties in connection with the importation and sale of the cars, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection claims for customs fraud.

The fine pushes the financial cost of the scandal to Volkswagen for just court penalties and vehicle buybacks past $15 billion.

"Plain and simple, it was wrong".

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Larry Thompson was appointed to monitor the company's compliance with the terms of the deal. "Today's massive fine underscores the extent of the fraud and the need for change at the company".

Seven employees have also been charged with crimes in the USA, but five are in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited. One executive is in custody and awaiting trial and another pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate.

Five other company officials charged in January are believed to be in Germany. They have not been arraigned.German prosecutors also are conducting a criminal probe of VW's excess diesel emissions.

"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. "Volkswagen today is not the same company that it was 18 months ago", he said.

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