US authorities sue VW over environmental violations image

The US Justice Department filed on Monday a complaint against Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche for alleged Clean Air Act Violations.

The dieselgate scandal has become even more complicated than Volkswagen ever envisaged. The US Department of Justice, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency, filed yesterday a civil complaint in federal court in Detroit, Michigan against Volkswagen AG, Audi, Volkswagen Group of America, Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America. The complaint alleges that nearly 600,000 diesel engine vehicles had illegal defeat devices installed that impaired their emission control systems and caused emissions to exceed EPA’s standards, resulting in harmful air pollution. The complaint further claims that Volkswagen violated the Clean Air Act by selling, introducing into commerce, or importing into the United States motor vehicles that were designed differently from what Volkswagen had stated in applications for certification to EPA and the California Air Resources Board.

The allegations carry penalties that could cost the automaker billions of dollars, a senior Justice Department official said. VW could in theory face fines exceeding 48 billion dollars – or as much as 37,500 dollars per vehicle per violation of the law, based on the complaint. In September, government regulators initially said VW could face fines in excess of 18 billion dollars.

“The United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to redress the violations of our nation’s clean air laws,” said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, head of department for environment and natural resources division. “We’re alleging that they knew what they were doing, they intentionally violated the law and that the consequences were significant to health,” the senior Justice Department official said.