Volkswagen to pay $2.8 billion in US diesel emission scandal

Reuters

A federal judge in Detroit on Friday sentenced Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) to three years' probation and independent oversight for the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal as part of a $4.3 billion settlement announced in January.

Federal Judge Sean Cox in Detroit followed the deal negotiated by VW and the U.S. Justice Department.

Cox said the $2.8 billion criminal penalty is large enough, even though Volkwagen's offenses, spanning a decade, were done on objective.

Cox urged the German government to "prosecute those responsible for this deliberate massive fraud that has damaged an iconic automobile company". "I just can't believe VW is in the situation it finds itself in today".

In addition to the criminal penalty, which it agreed to under the plea agreement, VW will pay a separate $1.5 billion civil penalty.

The district court judge in Detroit also placed the German auto maker on three years of probation, settling the U.S. criminal case over the scandal that has roiled the firm since 2015.

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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.

An assistant USA attorney, John Neal, told the court Thompson has assembled a team of experts and said the US government "has a great deal of confidence that (Thompson) will ensure compliance with all the terms" of the plea agreement. It is also offering compensation to auto owners, which both measures expected to cost a total of USD11 billion.

On Friday he rejected the request for such payments, saying the claims had already been covered by a consumer settlement previous year in which VW agreed to buy back, or modify, the U.S. cars involved in the scandal. 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.

Volkswagen also faces problems from Brussels, with EU commissioner for consumer affairs Vera Jourova complaining that nine million European customers who bought VW diesel cars were not being treated in the same way as their United States counterparts.

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