Volkswagen May Face Criminal Charges

Posted by brainjmedia03 on Wednesday, August 17, 2016


After the U.S. Justice Department found evidence of criminal wrongdoing within the company, Volkswagen and prosecutors began negotiating a deal that could lead to significant financial losses. Last year Volkswagen already agreed to pay $15 billion to regulators and consumers, so another big loss to the company could spell bad news although the Justice Department has not released how much those losses would be. It is also unclear whether prosecutors will criminally charge VW workers although that would be much more complicated as they would have to extradite many workers in order to do so. 

Volkswagen last year admitted to misleading environmental regulators and consumers by installing illegal emissions-cheating software on nearly 600,000 diesel-powered vehicles in the U.S. In June, it agreed to a separate civil settlement to pay regulators and consumers up to $15 billion.

The German auto maker is expected to face a large financial penalty as part of the criminal case, though the exact amount remains under discussion, the people said. The discussions so far have focused on a figure that would combine criminal and civil penalties, they said.

Prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit and the Justice Department’s fraud and environmental crimes sections in Washington are still weighing whether to seek a guilty plea from Volkswagen or pursue a so-called deferred prosecution agreement under which the government would aim to later dismiss charges so long as the auto maker adheres to settlement terms, the people said. Over the past two years, Toyota Motor Corp.and General Motors Co. reached deferred prosecution agreements with the Justice Department related to safety lapses. Both companies expressed regret for those lapses and pledged reforms.

Volkswagen’s admission that it used software to manipulate the results of emission testing to sidestep pollution standards in millions of cars has rocked the automaker. And the figures involved are pretty staggering. WSJ’s Dipti Kapadia explains the scandal in numbers. Photo: Getty (Originally published Oct. 9, 2015)

It remains unclear whether U.S. prosecutors plan to criminally charge Volkswagen employees, many of whom reside in Germany and would need to be extradited to face prosecution, some of the people said. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in June said the U.S. criminal probe involved “multiple individuals.”

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