Energy & Environment

Volkswagen pleads guilty in diesel cheating scandal

Volkswagen on Friday pled guilty to three felony counts stemming from the diesel emissions scandal uncovered by federal regulators in 2015. 

The company’s lawyer entered the plea in federal court in Detroit, saying, “VW AG is pleading guilty to all three counts because it is guilty on all three counts,” according to Reuters.

VW has settled several lawsuits stemming from its covert effort to skirt emissions standards for nitrogen oxide pollution. But Friday’s action was the first time the company has pleaded guilty to criminal charges against it related to the scandal. 

{mosads}The charges against VW included conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice and entry of goods by false statements. U.S. District Judge Sean Cox set an April 21 sentencing date, adding that he was considering a motion from owners on whether to allow for additional restitution for victims of the fraud. 

“This a very, very, very serious crime. It is incumbent on me to make a considered a decision,” Cox said. 

The plea agreement stipulates that VW needs to reform its operations and submit to new audits and oversight. 

The company has admitted to using software called a defeat device to turn off emissions controls on up to 600,000 diesel vehicles sold in the United States and up to 11 million cars around the world. 

VW has agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle civil and criminal fines in the U.S., and it will pay more than $20 billion to settle claims from drivers, dealers and regulators related to the scandal. 

More than half a dozen current and former executives face criminal charges connected to the scandal. 

Tags Volkswagen VW emissions scandal

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