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Volkswagen handed £2.18bn fine in US dieselgate hearing

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Volkswagen has been ordered to pay a £2.18 billion fine after admitting to cheating diesel emissions tests in the US.

US District Judge Sean Cox handed the fine to the German car giant after assistant US attourney John Neal slammed the manufacturer for its intentional effort “to evade US law and lie to US regulators” in the hearing on Friday.

Volkswagen is already paying £1.17 billion in a civil case, mostly to settle allegations brought by US environmental regulators, the LA Times reported.

It is also spending around £8.6 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation to owners.

To date, a total of seven employees have been charged with crimes in the US. Five are in Germany, however, and are unlikely to be extradited.

Former Justice Department official, Larry Thompson, has been appointed to serve as an independent compliance monitor to ensure that Volkswagen complies with the terms of its plea agreement.

Thompson will have a dual role as Independent Compliance Monitor and Independent Compliance Auditor, under the terms of Volkswagen’s plea agreement with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and a separate Consent Decree with the DOJ on behalf of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, respectively.

He will assess, oversee and monitor the company’s compliance with the terms of its settlements for a period of three years, including measures to further strengthen Volkswagen’s compliance, reporting and monitoring mechanisms and implementation of an enhanced compliance and ethics program.

Thompson will also be tasked with certifying that Volkswagen's compliance program is able to detect something like the diesel matter and prevent it from happening again.

Hiltrud Werner, board member of integrity and legal affairs at Volkswagen AG, said: “Volkswagen welcomes the appointment of Larry D Thompson to this new position, and we intend to cooperate fully with his important work.

“We have taken significant steps to strengthen accountability, enhance transparency and build a better company and we look forward to working closely with Mr Thompson as we press forward with the biggest change process in Volkswagen’s history.” 

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