Volkswagen pleads guilty in United States for Dieselgate-related charges

Posted March 14, 2017

The German auto giant's general counsel Manfred Doess said that the company was "guilty on all three counts" as guilty pleas were entered as part of a $4.3bn (£3.5bn) agreement with the USA regulators over the diesel emissions scandal on Friday. "Volkswagen today is not the same company it was 18 months ago".

The German automaker continues to wrestle with the fallout from its September 2015 admission that it rigged as many as 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide to cheat on emissions tests.

Summing up the scandal, Assistant U.S. Atty. Under the agreement with the USA government, VW would pay a $2.8 billion fine and $1.5 billion in civil penalties. Separately, six Volkswagen employees face criminal US criminal charges in the scandal. The judge overseeing the case in the US District Court in Detroit accepted the plea and will issue a sentence at a hearing on April 21.

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Also in that agreement, Volkswagen pledged to make sweeping reforms in the way it operates in the United States and other countries and agreed to new audits and three years of oversight by an independent monitor. And that's in the USA alone - these cars were shipped worldwide, so the automaker must deal with governments and customers around the world.

"Volkswagen deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to the diesel crisis", the company said in an emailed statement after the hearing. Oliver Schmidt, the company's liaison with US regulators, pleaded not guilty to charges of fraud and conspiracy in Detroit federal court on February 24.

USA regulators confronted VW about the software after West Virginia University researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions.