Germany’s diesel crisis shows no signs of slowing down but Volkswagen hasn’t been forced to face the music in its home country.
That’s changing today as the Braunschweig public prosecutor has slapped the company with a €1 ($1.17) billion fine for its involvement in the dieselgate scandal. The massive figure consists of a €5 ($5.8) million plenty – the maximum allowed – and a €995 million ($1.16 billion) fee for “disgorgement of economic benefits.”
According to the prosecutor, “monitoring duties had been breached in the Powertrain Development department” and this caused 10.7 million vehicles to be advertised, sold and placed on the market with diesel engines featuring an “impermissible software function.” That’s a fancy way of saying defeat device and the prosecutor notes the cheating occurred on EA 288 engines sold in Canada and the United States as well as EA 189 engines sold worldwide. The prosecutor went on to say this illegal activity occurred between mid-2007 and 2015.
In a short press release, Volkswagen AG said they have decided to accept the fine following a “thorough examination” of the prosecutor’s administrative order. The company also promised not to appeal the penalty.
By accepting the fine, Volkswagen says they admit “responsibility for the diesel crisis.” While the company will have to cough up a significant amount of cash, Volkswagen noted “active regulatory offence proceedings conducted against Volkswagen will be finally terminated.” The automaker went on to say this termination will likely have “significant positive effects” on other administrative proceedings against the company and its subsidiaries.
While this particular matter is resolved, Bloomberg reports the company is still facing legal proceedings in 55 countries and still isn’t off the hook in Germany. Speaking of the latter, German investigators are looking into whether or not Volkswagen hid knowledge of the scandal from investors. Volkswagen subsidiaries Audi and Porsche are also being investigated and Audi CEO Rupert Stadler’s home was recently raided by authorities.