Environment

Criminal Charges Announced in the Volkswagen Cheating Scandal

The Volkswagen Logo
JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

Remember the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal?

As you may recall, Volkswagen was busted for engineering their vehicles to deliberately cheat when being tested by environmental regulators across the globe. Volkswagen vehicles were rigged to reduce emissions during testing and boost emissions in exchange for performance during normal operation.

Federal prosecutors filed criminal charges against six Volkswagen employees this morning in connection to the scandal and the company itself has also formally confessed.

The Volkswagen employees include a former head of the company’s brand as well as the head of engine development. One of them, Oliver Schmidt, was arrested in Florida last week.

Volkswagen also formally pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, customs violations and obstruction of justice.

Volkswagen pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice this morning because the company initially attempted to deny that their entire fleet of vehicles was intentionally rigged to cheat.

Volkswagen's "clean diesel" cars emitted up to 40 times the legal limit of nitrogen oxide during normal operation and most of the 600,000 cars sold in the U.S. were rigged to cheat. Relatively few people in America drive these cars, but they're far more popular in Europe where the majority of people drive diesel cars.

This is probably the last time we'll see a major corporation held responsible for anything over at least the next four years.

  • muselet

    Entirely appropriate, and good on the Department of Justice for pursuing this so diligently.

    This is probably the last time we’ll see a major corporation held responsible for anything over at least the next four years.

    I’m afraid you’re right.

    –alopecia

  • ninjaf

    Now, if we could just charge some bankers for the 2008 thing…

    Hell, I’ll settle for keeping the laws in place that were enacted after, at this point. Beggars can’t be choosers.

  • Dread_Pirate_Mathius

    This is probably the last time we’ll see a major corporation held responsible for anything over at least the next four years.

    Don’t bet on it.

    I can readily imagine that foreign companies are going to be carefully scrutinized while domestic ones get a free pass. Protectionism by any other name…