Global automaker Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to allegations of an emissions scandal due to the deceptive practice of six company executives. The Justice Department in Washington D.C announced the indictment and plea today.
Volkswagen has admitted wrongdoing and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. This breaks out to $2.8 billion in criminal charges and $1.5 billion in civil penalties to resolve financial claims and environmental and customs.
In addition to the penalty sum, Volkswagen is required to cooperate in an ongoing investigation that may lead to the arrest of additional employees.
The illegal behavior of these Volkswagen executives includes violating “The Clean Air Act;” a law designed to regulate air pollution derived from stationary and mobile sources. Additionally, the company executives schemed a cover-up of their illegal behavior.
The emissions scandal involved the manipulation of the pollution software device in diesel engines. When the software was tested it enabled the pollution control during government tests, but in real world settings, this feature was disabled.
- About 11 million vehicles were equipped with the manipulated software known as the “defeat device”
- The bad software emitted toxic nitrogen oxide up to 40x past the legal limit
- $4.3 billion is the largest penalty charged by a government against an automaker
Among the Volkswagen employees involved in this crime were the former head of development and the former head of engine development. Only one employee has been arrested; the remaining five are alleged to be in Germany.
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