VW Could End Up Paying a Hefty Fine in Germany
German prosecutors will grant Volkswagen no mitigation for a record vehicle emissions settlement it faces in the United States and want VW to pay them a separate fine, a spokesman said.
Prosecutors are demanding VW be fined based on the level of the profits it made from selling about 11 million cars equipped with illicit engine software.
VW last month agreed with the U.S. government and regulators to pay $15.3 billion to get about half a million emissions-cheating diesel cars off U.S. roads.
Under Germany’s law on regulatory offenses, prosecutors are assessing the “economic advantage” VW enjoyed from using cheating software, rather than expensive exhaust filter systems, to manipulate pollution tests, the spokesman said, adding it will be difficult to determine the level of profits VW has reaped from its wrongdoing.
Industry observers in Germany estimate this could result in a fine of several hundreds of millions of euros.
Braunschweig prosecutors, which last month started probing former VW Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn and VW brand chief Herbert Diess over suspicion of market manipulation, declined comment.
VW still faces criminal probes in the United States, Germany, and South Korea as well as lawsuits from investors around the world suing the carmaker for what they describe as losses incurred after the manipulations were disclosed in September.