US Justice Department opens criminal probe into Volkswagen emission tests


The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of Volkswagen AG’s admission to systemically cheating on federal air pollution tests, according to two U.S. officials familiar with the inquiry. Volkswagen said last week it’s cooperating with regulators probing gaps between emissions on the road and lab tests on some diesel models, affecting more than half a million cars. The admission has marred the reputation of the world’s largest automaker and sent its shares Monday to the lowest level in more than three years. Volkswagen’s admission puts pressure on Chief Executive Officer Martin Winterkorn to repair the damage as the company faces the possibility of prosecution or regulatory action in the U.S. and Europe. The investigation comes as the Justice Department says it’s seeking to increase prosecutions of individuals for corporate crimes. (Del Quentin Wilber, Naomi Kresge and Richard Weiss/Bloomberg)

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