-- Volkswagen is nearing a $4.3 billion settlement with the U.S. government that would involve pleading guilty to certain criminal charges in the so-called defeat device emissions scandal, the automaker told ABC News.
Company management is set to approve the deal — which will also include appointing an independent monitor for the next three years — today or tomorrow, Volkwagen said in a statement. The courts must approve the company's settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the arrest of Volkswagen emissions executive Oliver Schmidt this weekend. According to a criminal complaint unsealed yesterday, Schmidt allegedly conspired with other Volkswagen employees to defraud the federal government — and American consumers — by concealing the installation of a device designed to cheat emissions tests.
As the company admits, the defeat device software, which was installed on about half a million diesel cars sold in the U.S. from 2009 to 2015, could detect when the car was undergoing emissions evaluations and adjust its nitrogen oxide emissions to comply with U.S. standards. When the software recognized the car was on the road, however, it would allow emissions up to 40 times higher than standards permit.
The company has already agreed to pay more than $15 billion on the issue, repairing or buying back the polluting vehicles and setting aside money for environmental mitigation and the development of zero-emissions technology.