Volkswagen plead guilty March 10 in U.S. court to three felony charges related to the company’s notorious “Dieselgate” scandal, wherein cheat-software was installed to fool government emissions testing, reports Automotive News.
“VW is pleading guilty to the information because it is guilty to all three counts,” said Manfred Doess, VW general counsel, during court proceedings led by District Judge Sean Cox.
The three counts include conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and introducing imported merchandise by means of false statements.
Under the terms of the plea agreement made with the court, VW will have settled claims by the EPA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency contesting the automaker’s unlawful emissions levels and breach of importation law involving some 590,000 diesel-powered vehicles.
VW is expected to pay $4.3 billion in penalties and fees after pleading guilty to all three charges; the automaker is also required to open its books up to independent investigators for at least three years to ensure compliance with all environmental and importation laws of the land.
Had VW not plead guilty to the charges, it would’ve faced $17 billion to $34 billion in fines, according to reports.
VW said in a written statement that it “deeply regrets the behavior that gave rise to the diesel crisis,” adding the plea agreement reflects the company’s “determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear.”