‘We can’t put companies in jail’

Volkswagen’s compensation bill in the US has risen to $22bn after it agreed to pay $4.3bn in US civil and criminal fines and pay California $153.8m.

Meanwhile, six current and former senior VW executives have also been charged for their roles in the scheme, according to Reuters. A seventh pleaded guilty last September and is cooperating with authorities.

Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, said, ‘It is now clear that Volkswagen’s top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark – and they did this for years. We can’t put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable. We can force companies to pay hefty fines.’

The indictment said the executives engaged in a 10-year conspiracy to cheat US emissions tests and then cover up the excess emissions even as regulators questioned irregularities.

Further charges have not been ruled out, with US Attorney General Loretta Lynch saying, ‘We will continue to pursue the individuals responsible for orchestrating this damaging conspiracy.’

VW still faces lawsuits from about 20 US states and other US investors.