US Justice Department indicts six Volkswagen executives in emission scandal, company to pay Rs 3,000 crore fine
Six high-level Volkswagen employees from German automaker were indicted in the US on Wednesday in the emissions-cheating scandal.
According to reports, the company itself agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay USD 4.3 billion (nearly Rs 3,000 crore) -- the biggest fine ever levied by the government against an automaker.
The company will pay a USD 2.8 billion (nearly 19,000 crore) penalty to resolve the criminal charges. The company will pay an additional USD 1.5 billion (nearly Rs 10,000 crore) to settle civil claims that it violated environmental, customs and finance laws as part of its deception.
The executives were indicted in connection with the company's efforts to deceive US regulators about the emissions standards of its diesel engine vehicles and sell those cars to American drivers.
The indictment said the executives engaged in a 10-year conspiracy to cheat US emissions tests and then cover up the excess emissions even as regulators questioned irregularities.
The Justice Department noted that in 2006 Volkswagen realized it cannot meet the tougher rules and its engineers designed a system to detect when cars were being tested in the lab and then to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollutants when driven.
The executives even destroyed documents and other evidence in an attempt to avoid detection, the Justice Department said.
One of the executives, Olivier Schmidt, was arrested and charged in Miami earlier this week. The other five were still in Germany. "Additional executives at the company are being investigated and could potentially face charges," Attorney General Loretta E Lynch said.
Recently, an executive at the South Korean unit of Volkswagen was sentenced to a year and a half in prison over charges of fabricating reports that came to light following the German carmaker's emissions scandal.