Volkswagen (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts and to pay $4.3 billion to settle criminal and civil penalties surrounding the automaker’s emissions scandal, in which defeat devices were used to cheat emissions tests.
The settlement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) includes a $2.8 billion criminal penalty and $1.5 billion to resolve civil actions involving environmental, financial and customs claims.
The company has also agreed to plead guilty to charges of:
The German automaker reached the settlement with the DOJ on Jan. 11, 2017 after admitting to using defeat devices in 590,000 of its vehicles in the U.S. Globally, nearly 11 million vehicles were found to falsely report low-emissions data when operating in a testing environment.
If approved by the federal court, the deal will require VW to plead guilty to all charges and be placed on a three-year probationary period under an independent corporate compliance monitor.
Volkswagen will also be forced to fully cooperate with the DOJ’s investigation and prosecution of those responsible for the scheme. Six VW executives and employees have been indicted by a federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan on charges of violating the Clean Air Act and wire fraud. One executive was arrested on Jan. 7, 2017 while visiting Miami and appeared before a federal court on Jan. 16, 2017.
A previous settlement was approved by a federal judge in October 2016 for $14.7 billion in repair costs and penalties that Volkswagen will pay to the U.S. government and consumers. The settlement was the largest in auto manufacturing history and included VW paying $10 billion to buy back or repair vehicles affected by the emissions scandal, as well as nearly $5 billion in penalties for environmental restoration.
Volkswagen violated consumer trust when the company provided false and misleading information to the U.S. market and federal government. If your vehicle is one of those affected by the emission scandal, contact the Volkswagen emissions lawyers at the Arnold Law Firm. Our class action attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and will provide you with a free consultation to discuss which legal option is in your best interest.