German Auto Firm Pleads Guilty In US Over VW Emission Scandal

According to a statement by the U.S. Justice Department, German auto parts supplier IAV Gmbh would plead guilty as well as pay $35 million in fines on charges of conspiring with German car maker Volkswagen AG in trying to bypass the tough diesel emission norms in the United States.

The Justice Department said that 50 per cent of IAV is owned by owned by Volkswagen and following the admission, the supplier company would have to serve two years of probation and would be kept under the oversight of an independent monitor. Following the emission scandal VW had been hit with many lawsuits in the US from vehicle owners, environmental regulators, states and auto dealers and the auto maker had previously agreed to pay more than $25 billion in the United States as settlement fines. Additionally, the company has also made offers to buy back about 500,000 vehicles with the faulty emission detection software in the US.

“IAV designed the software that allowed VW to cheat U.S. air emissions standards”, said Susan Bodine, assistant administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in a statement.

A higher fine amount would be put at risk IAV’s viability even though demanding such a higher fine was within its legal rights, the Justice Department said.

“We take these matters very seriously and see this resolution as an important step forward for our company,” said Kai-Stefan Linnenkohl, president and member of the IAV management board. “The misconduct identified does not reflect who we are as a company today. We are committed to a culture of compliance and accountability.”

As a part of a $4.3 billion Justice Department settlement, Volkswagen pleaded guilty in May 2017. Two former VW executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms and nine people have been charged in the diesel emissions scandal in total.

The government’s “investigation into emissions cheating is ongoing and we will follow the evidence wherever it leads,” said Justice Department official John Cronan in a statement.

IAV is set to plead guilty on Jan. 18 in Detroit.

I a separate investigation, the Justice Department is conducting a probe into alleged violation of emissions from 104,000 Fiat Chrysler Automobiles diesel vehicles. While denying the allegations, the company has claimed that it had never made any attempt to violate the emission regulations.

Following the admission of cheating the US emission standards in 2015, there has been greater scrutiny of diesel vehicles by U.S. and California regulators. VW had installed software that helped its diesel cars to show reduced levels of emissions from its cars and thereby evade the strict emission standards in the US.

Requests from US regulators about information related to its diesel emissions levels had been received by it, said Daimler AG in 2016. It had also conceded that its emissions certification process was asked to be investigated by the US Justice Department.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)

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