Volkswagen AG said today it had a “concrete draft” for a $4.3 billion deal to settle the US criminal case surrounding the emissions-cheating scandal known as “dieselgate.” The German automaker said it was in advanced discussions with the US Justice Department and US Customs and Border Protection to settle the criminal investigation and pay fines but this was subject to approval by VW’s board. It could be approved as early as late Tuesday.
Under the terms of the agreement, the company has agreed to plead guilty and retain an outside monitor to oversee Volkswagen’s legal compliance for a three-year period. Such a deal would resolve the final major legal hurdle facing the automaker in the United States since it admitted in 2015 to outfitting 11 million diesel cars worldwide with software that reduces emissions under testing but switches off under real driving conditions.
In the United States, those vehicles were spewing up to 40 times the permissible levels of harmful nitrogen oxide. The VW announcement follows Saturday’s arrest in the United States of a Volkswagen executive on a charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act.
While legal consequences for the company have been more muted elsewhere, in the United States, the emissions cheating scandal put Volkswagen in a world of legal trouble, sparking litigation by consumers, criminal authorities, state attorneys general and state and federal regulators.
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The company over 2016 had already agreed to pay about USD 16 billion in penalties, compensation of owners and contributions toward environmental cleanup.