VW Close to $4B Deal With US Over Emissions

The draft settlement also calls for strengthening compliance systems and installing an independent monitor for three years, the Wolfsburg, Germany-based automaker said Tuesday in a statement.

Volkswagen has indicated it will plead guilty to criminal misconduct and pay $4.3 billion in fines as part of a settlement of a US investigation of its cheating of exhaust emission tests.

The Justice Department charged VW with conspiracy to defraud the United States and violate the Clean Air Act by using defeat devices on its diesel vehicles that evaded emissions standards.

Six executives, five who now live in Germany, have also been criminally charged in Detroit federal court for crimes that allegedly occurred between 2006 and 2015 stemming from the emission scandal.

In an ironic twist, Volkswagen warned its traveling executives Tuesday to steer clear of the US following the arrest Oliver Schmidt, a high-level VW exec, who was returning home from a Florida vacation.

Furthermore car-maker giant said in a statement that it had negotiated a "concrete draft" of a payment with USA establishments that comprised criminal and civil fines totaling $4.3 billion, as well as hiring an independent monitor for the next three years.

The emissions-cheating disclosures undermined the sterling reputation of German engineering and threatened the viability of a company that vies with Toyota Motor Corp. as the world's biggest carmaker. Indeed, lawyers for some top-level executives have told their clients to avoid travel in the U.S.

The Volkswagen plea, filed in federal court in Detroit, serves as a capstone for Attorney General Loretta Lynch's enforcement of corporate misconduct and stands as one of the top environmental cases pursued under President Barack Obama.

"They were pumping illegal levels of nitrogen oxide into our atmosphere", she said during a news conference announcing the settlement.

In addition to the civil and criminal penalties, six of the automaker's employees now face criminal charges, including Oliver Schmidt, who was just recently arrested in Miami by Federal Bureau of Investigation agents before boarding a flight to Germany.

Volkswagen AG said it reached an agreement with the USA government to resolve the scandal, which includes guilty pleas to three charges, including conspiracy to defraud American customers and obstruction of justice.

The scandal flared up in 2015 when the US Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation against the automaker. News of a settlement comes 15 months after the EPA first disclosed the presence of defeat devices and software in the number of Volkswagen and Audi models.

In a separate statement, the United States Department of Justice said six high-ranking VW employees had been indicted in connection with a conspiracy to cheat emissions tests.

  • Rogelio Becker