U.S. judge sentences Volkswagen to three years probation, oversight

Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:39pm EDT
 
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By Nick Carey

DETROIT (Reuters) - A federal judge in Detroit on Friday sentenced Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) to three years' probation and independent oversight for the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal as part of a $4.3 billion settlement announced in January.

The plea agreement called for "organization probation" in which the company would be overseen by an independent monitor.

The sentencing was one of the last major hurdles to VW moving past a scandal that led to the ouster of its chief executive and tarnished the company's reputation worldwide.

"This is a case of deliberate and massive fraud," U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said in approving the settlement that required the automaker to make significant reforms. He also formally approved a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of the sentence.

As well as accepting the agreement reached between VW and the U.S. government, Cox rejected separate calls from lawyers representing individual VW customers for restitution.

The German automaker pleaded guilty in March to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements after admitting to installing secret software in 580,000 U.S. vehicles.

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.

Speaking on behalf of Volkswagen, general counsel Manfred Doess said the company "deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to this case. Plain and simple, it was wrong," he said.   Continued...

 
FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies next to a Volkswagen car dealership in San Diego, California September 23, 2015.   REUTERS/Mike Blake/File Photo