US finds evidence of criminality in VW probe
FEDERAL investigators who are probing Volkswagen’s diesel emissions cheating scandal in the US have uncovered evidence of criminal wrongdoing, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
The US Justice Department is now negotiating a settlement which may involve significant financial penalties for the company, the newspaper said.
The German automaker has worked swiftly to put the emissions scandal behind it, reaching multi-billion-dollar civil settlements with most US states and offering to compensate owners and fix deficient automobiles.
But, with the possibility of criminal sanctions, the news added a grave new dimension to the company’s travails.
Prosecutors had yet to decide on specific charges, according to the Journal.
It said the department is weighing the alternatives of requiring a guilty plea from the company, or offering it a deferred prosecution agreement, which would require certain corrective behaviour by the company over time after which charges would be dropped.
In a statement, Volkswagen said talks were continuing with federal and state authorities, including the Justice Department.