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VW Diesel Scandal

FTC says Volkwagen paid U.S. ‘Dieselgate’ victims $9.5 billion

The automaker was found guilty of basing vehicle ads on false emissions claims

In a published report, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) said Volkswagen paid U.S. victims of its emissions cheating scandal, better known as “Dieselgate,” a total of $9.5 billion. 

Volkswagen admitted in 2015 that it used “defeat devices” to score better on emissions tests. The following year, the company gave U.S. consumers who unwittingly purchased one of these vehicles the option of either returning it to Volkwagen for financial compensation or having it repaired to...

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    Volkswagen to pay $157 million to 10 states to settle dirty diesel claims

    It's the first time states have won environmental penalties against an automaker

    Volkswagen will pay $157 million to 10 states that sued the company for its secret use of unlawful "defeat device" software to enable their diesel-powered cars to pass emissions inspections.

    It's the first time the states have won environmental penalties against an automaker on their own. Previously, such cases were handled soley by the federal government.

    “Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche tried to pull off an extraordinarily cynical corporate fraud – deceiving hundreds of thousands of consumers, pumping thousands of tons of harmful pollution into our air, and flouting New York and federal environmental laws designed to protect public health,” said New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. “This went on for nearly a decade, for no other reason than their bottom line, so the companies could avoid the expense of engineering cars that would actually meet our environmental standards."

    "Adding insult to injury, they marketed these dirty vehicles as environmentally-friendly and technologically-advanced – not only deceiving consumers and harming our environment, but also undercutting the sales of their law-abiding competitors,” Schneiderman said.

    States follow California

    The lawsuits that led to the settlement were filed last summer by New York and Massachusetts. All of the states joining in the action have adopted California's stringent vehicle emission standards. The other states are Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington.

    Schneiderman said that setting the precedent of states enforcing emission laws is important because of President Trump's vow to defund federal environmental enforcement, leaving states like New York and California as the first line of defense in environmental matters.

    "New York will continue to enforce the tough auto emission and greenhouse gas standards established by California, and intends to oppose any effort by the federal government to roll back EPA emission standards currently in place," a statement from Schneiderman's office said.

    Electric cars

    As part of today’s settlement, Volkswagen has agreed to substantially increase its commitment to New York’s emerging electric car market. The agreement requires Volkswagen to – by 2020 – at least triple the number of electric car models its Volkswagen, Porsche, and Audi brands offer to New Yorkers from one model to three, including two electric SUVs.   

    “Volkswagen was caught – and today’s settlement means we’ve now held them to full account,” Schneiderman continued. “No company – however large or powerful – is above the law in New York.  As we’ve made clear, if the federal government fails to do its job, I will continue to enforce our state’s environmental laws and hold accountable anyone who violates them – to ensure New Yorkers’ public health and environment are protected.”

    Volkswagen will pay $157 million to 10 states that sued the company for its secret use of unlawful "defeat device" software to enable their diesel-powered...

    Judge refuses to release jailed Volkswagen executive

    Oliver Schmidt awaits trial on 11 felony counts, other VW execs remain in Germany

    Volkswagen has paid billions of dollars in fines, penalties, and buyback costs related to its "dirty diesel" scandal. But that's not much help to Oliver Schmidt, a VW engineer who at one time headed the automaker's emissions compliance department.

    Schmidt, 48, has been in jail in Detroit awaiting trial on 11 felony counts, and a federal judge Thursday refused to release him on bond, saying he presented an extreme flight risk. Schmidt was arrested at Miami International Airport Jan. 7 as he attempted to fly home to Germany after a family vacation. He faces up to 169 years in prison if convicted. 

    Other VW executives have been warned to stay in Germany, where they are safe from arrest and extradition, at least for now, since Germany rarely extradites its citizens to foreign countries.

    Schmidt was allegedly the author of a damning memo written in April 2014 when researchers at West Virginia University discovered that VW diesels exceeded federal standards and used a software program to reduce emissions when a car was being tested, Automotive News reported.

     “It should first be decided whether we are honest. If we are not honest, everything stays as it is,” Schmidt allegedly wrote to a colleague.

    Schmidt is only the second VW employee to feel the brunt of the scandal. James Liang, a Volkswagen engineer based in California, entered a guilty plea last September to conspiring to defraud regulators. He has been cooperating with investigators and is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

    Volkswagen has agreed to pay $4.3 billion in fines to various U.S. agencies as well as conducting a recall and buyback program that is expected to push the total cost in the U.S. and Canada beyond $23 billion.

    Volkswagen has paid billions of dollars in fines, penalties, and buyback costs related to its "dirty diesel" scandal. But that's not much help to Oliver Sc...