It isn't over yet.
Today, United States Attorney General Loretta Lynch read charges against Volkswagen AG, ultimately culminating in the German automotive conglomerate pleading guilty to conspiracy to defraud, and obstruction of justice. Volkswagen AG also agreed to pay no less than US$4.3bil in fines, on top of the US$17.5bil they have already paid in North America in settlements and environmental cleanup.
While an earlier report detailed the arrest of Oliver Schmidt, the former emissions boss at Volkswagen America, the US Attorney General detailed five more VW executives that they intend to charge, those being Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis and Jurgen Peter. The five that the Justice Department have in their crosshairs are currently in Germany, one of only a few countries that do not extradite citizens to the United States. The exec that has already been hauled in was arrested in Miami, on his way back to Germany after a holiday.
The sheer size of the fine, according to the Justice Department, reflects the severity of the offences. “The knowledge & choices Volkswagen made went to the executive levels. And that did set it apart from other companies,” said the Attorney General. She then went on to detail that, “Volkswagen knew of these problems, and when regulators expressed concern Volkswagen obfuscated, they denied, and they ultimately lied.”
Volkswagen AG’s CEO, Matthias Muller, responded to the charges being levelled against the company. “Volkswagen deeply regrets the behaviour that gave rise to the diesel crisis. The agreements that we have reached with the US government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear. They are an important step forward.”