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News Releases from HeadquartersAir and Radiation (OAR)

Volkswagen Agrees to Plead Guilty, Pay $4.3 Billion in Criminal and Civil Penalties

Contact Information: 
Julia P. Valentine (valentine.julia@epa.gov)
(202) 564-2663

WASHINGTON – Today U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy joined U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch at a press conference at the U.S. Department of Justice to announce that Volkswagen AG (VW) has agreed to plead guilty to three criminal felony counts, and pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty, as a result of the company’s long-running scheme to sell approximately 590,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. by using a defeat device to cheat on emissions tests mandated by the EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB), and by lying and obstructing justice to further the scheme.

In separate civil resolutions of environmental, customs, and financial claims, VW has agreed to pay $1.5 billion.  This includes EPA’s claim for civil penalties against Volkswagen in connection with Volkswagen’s importation and sale of these vehicles, as well as U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) claims for customs fraud.  In addition, the EPA agreement requires injunctive relief to prevent future violations.  The agreements also resolve alleged violations of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act.

“When Volkswagen broke the law, EPA stepped in to hold them accountable and address the pollution they caused,” said EPA Administrator McCarthy. “EPA’s fundamental and indispensable role becomes all too clear when companies evade laws that protect our health. The American public depends on a strong and active EPA to deliver clean air protections, and that is exactly what we have done.”

“Volkswagen’s attempts to dodge emissions standards and import falsely certified vehicles into the country represent an egregious violation of our nation’s environmental, consumer protection, and financial laws,” said Attorney General Lynch. “Today’s actions reflect the Justice Department’s steadfast commitment to defending consumers, protecting our environment and our financial system, and holding individuals and companies accountable for corporate wrongdoing.  In the days ahead, we will continue to examine Volkswagen’s attempts to mislead consumers and deceive the government.  And we will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy.”

For more information on EPA’s work on this issue: https://www.epa.gov/enforcement/volkswagen-clean-air-act-civil-settlement

To read details in the DOJ press release: https://www.justice.gov/briefing-room