Volkswagen has agreed to pay a $4.3 billion (3.5bn) fine in the US in a draft settlement with the American authorities over the Dieselgate emissions scandal, it has been reported.
It is believed Volkswagen will plead guilty to breaking US laws in a move aimed to close off the legal action in the States before the Trump administration change.
The charges include wire fraud and violating the US Clean Air Act, and the car giant agree to be supervised by an independent monitor for three years, subject to approval by Volkswagen’s board.
However, while the settlement would move the company a step closer to drawing a line under the scandal over its use of “defeat devices” to cheat emissions tests it is not expected to prevent US authorities from also pursuing charges against individual Volkswagen executives.
After picking up Oliver Schmidt, a man who was VW’s liaison with environmental regulators, it is thought that US authorities are preparing further arrests. Top executives at Volkswagen have reportedly been warned to stay in Germany to avoid the risk of arrest by US authorities as the fallout from the “dieselgate” scandal grows.
In a statement issued overnight, it was confirmed that the huge fine was agreed to with the Department of Justice.
The statement read: “Volkswagen AG confirms market rumours that the company negotiated a concrete draft of a settlement agreement with the aforementioned US authorities which contains criminal and civil fines with a total of $4.3bn as well as measures to further strengthen the compliance and control systems including appointment of an independent monitor for the next three years.
“Further, part of the settlement agreement is a guilty plea regarding certain US criminal law provisions and a statement of facts on the basis of which the fines have to be made.”
This all stems from evidence found back in September 2015 where it was discovered that the world’s biggest car maker had doctored emissions test results with ‘defeat device’ software which could tell if a car was in a lab test mode and deliberately cycle to cleaner-than-normal emissions to pass local air quality tests.
This latest fine racks up a total past $20bn which Volkswagen have had to pay. The company set aside $19bn to deal with the fallout from the emissions rigging scandal.