March 10 (UPI) — Volkswagen AG on Friday pleaded guilty to federal criminal charges involving rigging several hundred thousand diesel cars to cheat U.S. emission standards, and agreed to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine and $1.5 billion civil penalty.
In U.S. District Court in Detroit, the German automaker pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act, committing wire fraud, obstructing justice and violating import laws.
The federal government said VW knowingly deceived U.S. regulators by rigging the diesel-powered cars to meet the standards to sell 600,000 Volkswagen and Porches in the United States.
Volkswagen began installing the cheat devices on 2009 model year vehicles sold in the United States and continued producing them through the 2016 model year.
Besides the fine and penalties agreed upon in court Friday, Volkswagen has also agreed to pay out more than $20 billion worldwide to settle civil suits with consumers, regulators, dealers and state attorneys general in the United States.
Also, six current and former Volkswagen executive and employees were separately charged in the federal criminal investigation.
On Feb. 1, Volkswagen reached an agreement to pay $1.2 billion to owners of diesel vehicles. The amount could increase to $4 billion if a fix for the vehicles isn’t approved by regulators.