Volkswagen pleads guilty as US charges 5 more in diesel scandal

Volkswagen AG took a major step toward resolving one of the darkest chapters in its history Wednesday, agreeing to plead guilty in the US to an emissions-cheating scandal and agreeing to pay $4.3 billion in penalties, while prosecutors announced charges against five individuals in Germany. VW admitted to using false statements to import cars to the US and obstructing investigations when authorities grew suspicious of the emissions levels from the diesel engines. Among the executives charged with conspiracy were Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was suspended in 2015, Jens Hadler and Richard Dorenkamp. The emissions cheating undermined the sterling reputation of German engineering and threatened the viability of a company that vies with Toyota Motor Corp. as the world’s biggest carmaker. Volkswagen pressed to resolve investigations and lawsuits as quickly as possible, while working to repair its reputation with car buyers and dealers. It’s now selling more cars and trucks than ever, offsetting declines in the US with strong sales in China. The company and its executives are still under investigation in Germany and it faces investor lawsuits in the US and at home. “Volkswagen deeply regrets the behaviour that gave rise to the diesel crisis,” Chief Executive Officer Matthias Mueller said in a statement. “We will continue to press forward with changes to our way of thinking and working.” (Tom Schoenberg, Christoph Rauwald and David McLaughlin/Bloomberg)

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