Judge sentences Volkswagen to $2.8B criminal fine for emissions cheating

Posted April 22, 2017

In addition to the $2.8 billion Volkswagen is being forced to pay to the US government, they are also being required to pay $1.5 billion in a civil case, as well as spending an additional $11 billion to buy back cars and offer additional compensation.

"We have worked tirelessly to address the misconduct that took place within our company and make things right for our affected customers", the company said in a statement on Friday. Cox wanted more time to consider a plea deal and fine negotiated by the German automaker and the Justice Department.

Volkswagen admitted to conspiring for almost a decade to deceive USA officials with illegal software that allowed vehicles to pass government emissions tests and then pollute far beyond legal limits on the road.

In brief remarks to the judge, VW defense attorney Jason Weinstein says the criminal fine is an "appropriate and serious sanction".

Separately, Volkswagen is paying $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and is spending $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation.

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"The sentencing of Volkswagen marks a significant milestone in this historic case", Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement.

About 590,000 diesel vehicles in the US were sold that included a so-called defeat device to make their emissions seem lower than they were on tests mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board. But because the automaker did disclose its own obstructive conduct and agreed to a three-year independent monitor, the government believes the criminal penalties should be reduced to $2.8 billion. Volkswagen pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the USA, commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act; obstruction of justice; and import violations.

Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to cheating efforts on emission tests and will pay $4.3 billion. Another, James Robert Liang, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States last fall.

The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven current and former VW executives with crimes related to the scandal. Judge Cox denied a recent bail request from Mr. Schmidt, who remains imprisoned in MI until he faces trial early next year.