In October, VW engineer James Robert Liang, of Newbury Park, California, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government and agreed to cooperate with investigations in the USA and Germany.
Volkswagen shares rose in early Wednesday trading as investors welcomed news the carmaker is on the cusp of a criminal and civil settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its emissions test cheating scandal. That's a "rare admission of wrongdoing for a major company", according to The Washington Post.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy announced Tuesday that the German automaker would plead guilty to felony charges. "But our investigation has revealed they were anything but".
Volkswagen AG's almost decade-old plot to cheat USA emissions tests - all while marketing its diesel cars as environmentally friendly - was quickly unraveling by 2015. The proposed deal still needed the approval of the company's board.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch called Volkswagen's actions "an egregious violation" of USA laws.
"We will continue to examine Volkswagen's attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government". From the start of this investigation, we've been committed to ensuring that those responsible for criminal activity are held accountable.
The US justice department also charged six VW executives for their roles in the conspiracy, five of whom are believed to be in Germany while one was arrested in Miami on Saturday.
US authorities are still investigating just how high the scheme went, and held out the possibility of charges against more VW executives. VW also agreed to pay an additional $154 million to California for violating its clean air laws. VW still faces investor lawsuits in the USA and in Germany, as well as consumer lawsuits and a criminal probe in Germany. She told reporters it was too early to speculate how the case will proceed, but added that "we've always worked very well with out German colleagues on various law enforcement matters". As a key player in covering up the cheating scandal-running VW's regulatory compliance office-Schmidt was charged with violating the Clean Air Act and defrauding the USA government. Those devices and accompanying software allowed Volkswagen to evade regulators for years, the Justice Department asserts. Volkswagen has already begun it voluntary recall of affected vehicles. Volkswagen initially denied using the defeat advice, then admitted to it in September of that year.
Volkswagen has already settled civilian charges related to the scandal, agreeing to a $14.7 billion payment that allows almost 500,000 vehicle owners to sell back their cars or get them fixed.