The “Dieselgate” saga has been long and embarrassing for Volkswagen, but the legal process finally appears to have an end in sight.
The German automaker pleaded guilty Friday in a U.S. District Court in Detroit to three counts stemming from its diesel emissions scandal, according to USA TODAY. Volkswagen pleaded guilty to charges of fraud, obstruction of justice and misrepresenting the capability of vehicles with diesel engines it imported into the U.S.
Volkswagen’s general counsel Manfred Doess acknowledged in court that VW willfully and knowingly developed software designed to circumvent government regulators in an effort to have its diesel engines pass emissions standards.
“Volkswagen AG is pleading guilty on all three counts of the allegations because it is guilty of all three counts, and Volkswagen AG has admitted those facts,” Doess said, via USA TODAY.
Although Judge Sean Cox accepted VW’s plea, he set another hearing for April 21. Cox said he wants more time to review the case’s settlement agreement, which calls for a $4.3 billion fine. Under federal sentencing guidelines, VW could be fined much more than the proposed amount.
“With all due respect … this is a very, very serious offense,” he said, via USA TODAY. Cox added that he wants more time to consider objections made by some VW customers.
Previously, Volkswagen agreed to approximately $17 billion in civil settlements for owners of vehicles affected by the scandal.
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