Volkswagen under criminal probe in EPA emissions case

Volkswagen under criminal probe in EPA emissions case
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The Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into how Volkswagen Group skirted pollution rules on many of its United States diesel vehicles, Bloomberg Business reports.

Two federal officials told Bloomberg on Monday that the inquiry is underway following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) report Friday that the company admitted to cheating emissions tests.

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A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment on the report. Volkswagen has admitted to building a “defeat device” that reduces nitrogen oxide output to acceptable levels only during EPA emissions tests.

Separately, the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced Monday that its subcommittee on oversight and investigations, led by Rep. Tim Murphy (R-Pa.), would hold a hearing on the issue in the coming weeks.

Martin Winterkorn, head of Germany-based Volkswagen, said in a Sunday statement that he is “deeply sorry” for what his company did and pledged to commission an external investigation.

Volkswagen faces up to $18 billion in fines for the devices, which are prohibited under the Clean Air Act.

Vehicles emitted 10 to 40 times the allowable amount of pollution when they were not undergoing tests, the EPA said.