VW fined $1.6bn by German prosecutors over emissions cheating

VW fined $1.6bn by German prosecutors over emissions cheating

German prosecutors have issued an administrative order against the Volkswagen Group providing for a fine of €1-billion (that's almost R16-billion at the current exchange rate) as the diesel emissions scandal, which hit headlines back in September 2015, rolls on.

The €1 billion ($1.2 billion) penalty was announced Wednesday by public prosecutors and the company, which said it was hoping to turn a page on emissions cheating.

The fine, claimed to be one of the highest fines ever imposed by German prosecutors, is in response to Volkswagen cars being found with "impermissible software functions".

Prosecutors say the fine has to be paid within six weeks.

More than 10 million diesel vehicles were sold internationally with illegal emissions-controlling software.

This means that the company admits that diesel cars were fitted with so-called "defeat devices" which worked out when they were having their emissions levels tested. 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. The episode has already cost Volkswagen over $30 billion in recalls, legal penalties and settlements.

Finance chief Frank Witter will update investors on August 1 on the implications of the fine for the carmaker's cash position, alongside its second-quarter results, VW said.

Volkswagen said it held a board meeting to discuss the crisis with members of the supervisory board also being informed.

In the US, former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn and several other executives have been charged with felony counts of conspiracy, wire fraud and other violations.

The German prosecutors are investigating Winterkorn and 48 others in connection with the emissions scandal.

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