Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, now part of Stellantis plead guilty to criminal conspiracy for years of U.S. Justice Department diesel emissions fraud probe. The plea agreement from the court discloses $300 million (Rs 2,327 crore) as the matter resolution penalty amount.
The US-based FCA has been asked to pay a $203.6 million (Rs 1,580 crore) forfeiture penalty and a $96.1 million (Rs 745 crore) fine and US District Judge Nancy Edmunds has set July 18 as the sentencing date. The company has paid previously as well – $183 million (Rs 1,420 crore) in compensation to over 63,000 people and a $311 million (Rs 2,412 crore) civil penalty as part of a class-action diesel lawsuit.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Polite said, “FCA US engaged in a multi-year scheme to mislead U.S. regulators and customers. The department will hold accountable companies that seek to place profits above candor, good corporate governance, and timely remediation.”
The US officials, further explaining the matter said that the company installed deceptive software features. With an intent to avoid regulatory scrutiny and clear the required checks for emissions standards, FCA US “purposely calibrated the emissions control systems” for more than 100,000 vehicles in its U.S. lineup.
The justice department also indicates three FCA US employees involved in the conspiracy that violated the Clean Air Act and awaiting trial anytime soon. It was in 2021, FCA merged with the French Peugeot maker PSA and formed Stellantis.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty five years back to the criminal charges for the 600,000 vehicles ‘Dieselgate’ scandal and now Stellantis is indulged in a similar emissions crisis. The automaker will be on a three years long probation period and will have to conduct a review of its compliance with the Clean Air Act, inspection and testing procedures followed by a submission of a detailed report.