$4.3 BILLION PLEA AGREEMENT IS PART OF THE LARGEST AUTOMAKER SETTLEMENT IN HISTORY
On Friday, March 10, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to claims brought by the Department of Justice over Volkswagen’s now-infamous diesel emissions scandal. The plea is part of a $4.3 Billion agreement to dispose of criminal charges for conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice, and entry of goods by false statement. Volkswagen is expected to spend more than $25 Billion to resolve all civil and criminal actions brought over the controversy.
Volkswagen was accused with secretly equipping its diesel vehicles with software designed to skirt emissions regulations. This software “defeat device” was designed to reduce the vehicles’ emissions during testing to pass federal emissions standards, but allow the vehicles to spew illegal amounts of pollutants while on the road.
U.S. Attorney John Neal told the Court on March 10 that the scheme “was a well thought-out, planned offense that went to the top of the organization.” General Counsel for Volkswagen, Manfred Doees, said that “VW AG is pleading guilty to all three counts because it is guilty on all three counts.” These acts occurred in both Germany and in the United States.
Recent automaker scandals, like those surrounding Volkswagen emissions, Takata Airbags, and GM ignition switches, have shed new light on the potential for trusted manufacturers to knowingly conceal dangerous defects in their products.
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