U.S. judge sentences Volkswagen to three years probation, oversight


Reuters

UPDATE 4-U.S. judge sentences Volkswagen to three years probation, oversight


(Adds Department of Justice comment, Volkswagen comment)
    By Nick CareyDETROIT, April 21 (Reuters) - A federal judge in Detroit on
Friday sentenced Volkswagen AG <VOWG_p.DE> to three years'
probation and independent oversight for the German automaker's
diesel emissions scandal as part of a $4.3 billion settlement
announced in January.
    The plea agreement called for "organization probation" in
which the company would be overseen by an independent monitor.
    The sentencing was one of the last major hurdles to VW
moving past a scandal that led to the ouster of its chief
executive and tarnished the company's reputation worldwide.
    "This is a case of deliberate and massive fraud," U.S.
District Judge Sean Cox said in approving the settlement that
required the automaker to make significant reforms. He also
formally approved a $2.8 billion criminal fine as part of the
sentence.
    As well as accepting the agreement reached between VW and
the U.S. government, Cox rejected separate calls from lawyers
representing individual VW customers for restitution.
    The German automaker pleaded guilty in March to fraud,
obstruction of justice and falsifying statements after admitting
to installing secret software in 580,000 U.S. vehicles.
    Since the September 2015 disclosure that VW intentionally
cheated on emissions tests for at least six years, the company
has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to
address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and
dealers and to make buy-back offers.
    Speaking on behalf of Volkswagen, general counsel Manfred
Doess said the company "deeply regrets the behavior that gave
rise to this case. Plain and simple, it was wrong," he said.
    The U.S. Department of Justice announced Friday it had
selected former Deputy U.S. Attorney General Larry Thompson to
serve as the company's independent monitor.
    In a statement New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer,
who oversees investments in Volkswagen on behalf of the New York
City Pension Funds, said VW's "scheme was deceitful." "Today's
massive fine underscores the extent of the fraud and the need
for change at the company."
    The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven current and
former VW executives with crimes related to the scandal. One
executive is in custody and awaiting trial and another pleaded
guilty and agreed to cooperate. U.S. prosecutors said in January
that five of the seven are believed to be in Germany. They have
not been arraigned.
    German prosecutors also are conducting a criminal probe of
VW's excess diesel emissions.
    "We have worked tirelessly to address the misconduct that
took place within our company and make things right for our
affected customers," the company said in a statement on Friday.
"Volkswagen today is not the same company it was 19 months ago."

 (Reporting by Nick Carey in Detroit and David Shepardson in
Washington; Editing by Dan Grebler and Andrew Hay)
 ((David.Shepardson@thomsonreuters.com; 2028988324;))

Keywords: VOLKSWAGEN EMISSIONS/ (UPDATE 4, PIX)



This article appears in: Stocks , Politics
Referenced Symbols: VOWG_P


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