Volkswagen has had to pay billions of dollars in fines to the United States for the whole ‘Dieselgate’ scandal. This is on top of the millions of dollars they have spent and will be spending fixing vehicles that were fitted with emissions cheating software. At least one person has been sentenced to prison. However, those executives in charge at the time of the scandal may see no jail time and almost no fines in Europe have been imposed. Fortune reports on the penalties the automaker faces.
Oliver Schmidt admitted that he had been part of a coverup. His sentencing in Detroit to seven years in prison may be the only person the U.S. sees imprisoned. This is because the executives behind the scandal are mostly German nationals and the country is not in the habit of extraditing their national citizens.
In addition to Schmidt’s imprisonment, the United States exacted some $25 billion in fines against Volkswagens to cover 580,000 tainted vehicles sold in this country. Compare that to the 8 million emissions-cheating vehicles sold in Europe, where the company has yet to pay a single Euro in penalties.
Martin Winkerhorn, who was CEO during all of the wrongdoing, may never see a U.S. courtroom despite a push for some Justice Department officials to indict the former CEO, who was well aware of the fraud perpetrated by the company. However, even if he does not get extradited to the United States, such an indictment would send a message to the European Union – that the deception was flagrant and came from the top.
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