Volkswagen Agrees to Pay U.S. Government $4.3 Billion
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Justice, U.S Customs and Border Protection have reached a resolution with Volkswagen that carries criminal and civil penalties.
Volkswagen has plead guilty to the following felonies: intent to commit wire fraud, violating the Clean Air Act, and conspiracy to defraud the United States government. Volkswagen is also required to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties and advised to take severe measures to prevent future violations.
The investigation exploded when the EPA issued a violation notice to Volkswagen after discovering VW intentionally programmed (TDI) Turbocharged direct injection diesel engines to activate certain emissions controls during laboratory testing. This specific programming caused its’ vehicles to emitillegal levels ofnitrogen oxides into the environment- nearly 40 times more nitrogen oxides. The software that these vehicles were equipped with had the ability to mask the true amount of pollutants the cars released causing false reports.
The ongoing criminal investigationinto Volkswagen has lasted 16 months and was conducted by the FBI and the EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. Attorney General, Loretta Lynch, FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, and Detroit FBI Special Agent in Charge, David Gelios made the announcement at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Wednesday. Attorney General, Lynch stated, “...Furthermore, we are today announcing the indictment of six former high-level VW executives: Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis, Jens Hadler, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jürgen Peter, and Oliver Schmidt. These individuals all held positions of significant responsibility at VW, including overseeing the company’s engine development division and serving on the company’s management board. Over the course of a conspiracy that lasted for nearly a decade, they seriously abused those positions, and today, they are being charged with a range of crimes, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, violations of the Clean Air Act, and wire fraud.” Lynch also stated that the Justice Department will continue to examine the Volkswagen and vigorously enforce the Laws of the United States.