Volkswagen pleads guilty in USA court in diesel emissions scandal

Volkswagen pleaded guilty Friday to conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a brazen scheme to get around US pollution rules on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles by using software to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.

Under the deal with the Department of Justice, VW agreed to major reforms and scrutiny by an independent monitor for three years after admitting to installing secret software in 580,000 U.S. vehicles.

In January the company agreed to pay $4.3bn in USA civil and criminal fines.

The rigged software was created to detect when a vehicle was undergoing emissions testing, then shut off the emissions controls when the cars were on the road. The scandal broke out in 2015, when it was found that Volkswagen had installed software on around 11 million cars worldwide to cheat its way through diesel emissions tests.

They include Oliver Schmidt, who was in charge of Volkswagen's environmental and engineering office in MI.

US regulators confronted VW about the software after West Virginia University researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions.

This is a developing story.

A company lawyer is expected to appear to plead guilty on Volkswagen's behalf. It is not yet clear whether Judge Sean Cox will pass sentence immediately.

The U.S. Justice Department in a court filing Monday called Volkswagen's conduct "one of the largest corporate fraud schemes in the history of the United States".

Overall, Volkswagen had now agreed to spend close to $25 billion in the U.S to address all the claims from the owners, environmental regulators, states, and dealers.

The German carmaker is spending up to $10 billion on buybacks and compensation for almost 500,000 vehicle owners. Seven former and current executives at Volkswagen have also been charged with crimes associated with dieselgate. One executive is in custody and awaiting trial.

Volkswagen's Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch stated that the firm expects to actually broaden the disciplinary action beyond 2 dozens of employees that it has already suspended.

  • Zachary Reyes