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Sentence next for Volkswagen in US diesel emissions scandal
22 April 2017, 01:51 | Maryann Sutton
People pass in front of a Volkswagen logo at Shanghai Auto Show during its media day in Shanghai
A federal prosecutor on Friday confirmed that the government plans to name former deputy USA attorney general Larry Thompson to serve as independent monitor of Volkswagen AG under a plea agreement over its diesel emissions scandal. He also formally approved a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of the sentence. Judge Cox accepted Volkswagen's guilty plea in March to criminal charges, but postponed sentencing until Friday.
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox stuck to the plea deal during the sentencing hearing, six weeks after VW pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a bold scheme involving almost 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. They were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road.
The company also released a subsequent statement announcing the appointment of Larry D. Thomson as Independent Compliance Monitor under the terms of its settlements with the US government.
In a statement after the ruling, Volkswagen said it "deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to the diesel matter".
Volkswagen has previously agreed to more than $17 billion in civil settlements with consumers and dealers who bought the diesel vehicles at issue. The sentence was ordered Friday, six weeks after the German automaker pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice. Oliver Schmidt, a German national and former VW executive once responsible for the company's compliance with US emissions regulations, was arraigned on criminal charges earlier this year.
"The sentencing of Volkswagen marks a significant milestone in this historic case", Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel Lemisch said in a statement. Volkswagen at first denied the use of the so-called defeat device but finally admitted it in September 2015. "This prosecution sends a strong message to Volkswagen and others that we take our environmental laws seriously and that federal prosecution awaits those who defraud the EPA".
VW admits that almost 600,000 diesel cars in the US were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and turn them off while on the road.
In his ruling on Friday, Judge Cox said, "I can't believe the VW is in this situation that it finds itself in today". "We let people down and for that we are deeply sorry", Mr. Döss said. "Volkswagen today is not the same company that it was 18 months ago", he said.
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