VW has agreed to take responsibility for the diesel emissions scandal and will settle a part of the $4.3bn (£3.5bn) agreement fee it made with the US regulators.
The Germany-based manufacturer has pleaded guilty that it conspired to commit fraud, obstruct justice and facilitate entry of goods by false statement.
The company has in the past month maintained that it had no hand in any given deception before the British House of Commons’ transport select committee.
But the United States regulators couldn’t take their word to be true, especially after West Virginia University researchers discovered some abnormalities in the software. According to available data, it showed differing results for testing and real-world emissions. At the early stages, Volkswagen turned down the allegations but later on in September 2015 admitted the existence of a defeat device.
But the firms’ wrongdoings did not stop just there yet. Upon admitting to have made wrongs, VW employees were involved in deleting computer files and other evidence that could be used in prosecution.
US attorney John Neal summed up the scandal saying that it was a “calculated offense” as opposed to “momentary lapse of judgment”.
First time to plead guilty
This is the first time that the company has pleaded guilty to a criminal act in any given court all over the world. The admittance comes at a time when the automaker is striving to put behind it the most expensive scandal within the auto industry.
Back in September 2015 when it admitted the wrongdoing, VW chief executive was oust while the company’s reputation was badly damaged and prompted massive bills.
In total, Volkswagen has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
‘Very Serious Crime’
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said that he considered the crime to be “very, very, very serious” adding that it is incumbent for him to considerably decide on the matter.
Both the accuser and accused indicated that they have arrived at an agreement that the automaker will effectively restitute.
The company said that it regrets over the diesel crisis. It said that its agreement with the U.S. government is an indication of its determination “to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear.”
The Agreement made requires that VW makes a number of reforms including changing its mode of operation in the US and other countries.
This settlement does not mean VW is off the hook because it’s still under investigation by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Internal Revenue Service and some U.S. states.