Volkswagen to Pay $2.8 Billion in US Diesel Emissions Scandal

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U.S. Judge Sean Cox on Friday sentenced Volkswagen during a hearing in a Detroit federal court, a little over a month after the auto maker pleaded guilty to criminal charges stemming from the emissions fraud.

During the sentencing hearing, the court accepted the parties' plea agreement, which requires VW to pay a $2.8 billion penalty stemming from the company's decade-long scheme to sell diesel vehicles containing software created to cheat USA emissions tests.

Part of the agreement calls for federal monitoring of future business operations.

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In January, Volkswagen also agreed to pay $1.5 billion to the United States to settle its civil environmental, customs, and financial violations.

Since the September 2015 disclosure that VW intentionally cheated on emissions tests for at least six years, the company has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and to make buy-back offers. Seven employees have also been charged.

Cox urged the German government to "prosecute those responsible for this deliberate massive fraud that has damaged an iconic automobile company".

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Before Cox imposed his sentence Manfred Doess, the automaker's general counsel, again appeared on behalf of the world's largest automaker to apologize and vowed that the company's corporate culture is changing.

In a statement after the ruling, Volkswagen said it "deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to the diesel matter". The judge wanted more time to consider the plea deal and fine negotiated by VW and the U.S. Justice Department. He added, Plain and simple it was wrong.

The automaker was charged with fraud in September 2015 when it was discovered that special software was created to mask the emission levels of their popular diesel engines in a range of models when they were tested by Environmental Protection Agency regulators. "We let people down and for that we're deeply sorry".

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VW was convicted, first, of participating in a conspiracy to defraud the United States and its USA customers and to violate the Clean Air Act by lying and misleading the EPA and US customers about whether certain VW, Audi and Porsche branded diesel vehicles complied with USA emissions standards. "Volkswagen today is not the same company that it was 18 months ago".

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