Germany has fined Volkswagen €1 billion over the auto maker's diesel emissions cheating scandal, public prosecutors have announced.
The fine follows a USA plea agreement from January 2017 when VW agreed to pay $4.3bn to resolve criminal and civil penalties for installing illegal software in diesel engines to cheat strict United States anti-pollution tests. The company said it won't be appealing the fine, one of the highest ever imposed by Berlin. "Volkswagen AG, by doing so, admits its responsibility for the diesel crisis and considers this as a further major step towards the latter being overcome", the statement noted.
In the spiralling scandal, Germany ordered Monday the recall of some 774,000 Daimler vehicles across Europe, citing illegal defeat devices.
Also happening this week is German prosecutors widening its emissions cheating probe to include Audi and its Chief Executive Rupert Stadler. Later, researchers were able to find the exact code that suppressed the emissions control system on 2007-2015 diesel Volkswagens, Audis, and Porsches from Volkswagen Group. This however concludes the regulatory offence proceedings against Volkswagen, which the automaker said would help in settling further administrative proceedings against itself in Europe, the report said.
Volkswagen's new Chief Executive Herbert Diess said further steps were needed by the company to overcome its diesel cheating scandal and to restore trust in the company.
The German vehicle maker announced the fine on Wednesday evening, saying it had agreed the "administrative penalty" after an investigation by the public prosecutor in Braunschweig, the city close to the company's Wolfsburg headquarters.
"The fact that the criminal risk has now been dealt with is good news", said Arndt Ellinghorst, an analyst with Evercore ISI.