| WASHINGTON, March 9
WASHINGTON, March 9 Volkswagen AG is set to
plead guilty on Friday to three felony counts in the Justice
Department's diesel emissions investigation, as the German
automaker seeks to move past its cheating scandal.
As part of a plea agreement with U.S. prosecutors announced
in January, the company agreed to sweeping reforms, new audits
and oversight by an independent monitor for three years after it
admitting to installing secret software in vehicles to enable it
to beat emissions tests over a six-year period.
Volkswagen agreed to change the way it operates in the
United States and other countries under the settlement of
charges that it installed secret software in 580,000 U.S.
vehicles to allow them to emit up to 40 times the amount of
legally permitted pollution.
On Friday, the German automaker is to be formally arraigned
in U.S. District Court in Detroit and then is set to plead
guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction of justice and
entry of goods by false statement charges, a court spokesman
A company lawyer is expected to appear to plead guilty on
Volkswagen's behalf. It is not clear if Judge Sean Cox will
formally sentence VW on Friday.
VW, the world's largest automaker by sales, also has agreed
to pay $4.3 billion in U.S. civil and criminal fines.
The U.S. Justice Department in a court filing Monday called
Volkswagen's conduct "one of the largest corporate fraud schemes
in the history of the United States."
In total, VW has agreed to spend up to $25 billion in the
United States to address claims from owners, environmental
regulators, states and dealers.
Lawyers for VW and the government said in a joint motion
that Judge Cox should reject a request by a lawyer for some
owners seeking individual criminal restitution.
The motion noted VW is spending up to $10 billion on
buybacks and compensation for nearly 500,000 vehicle owners and
nearly all agreed to take part.
The Justice Department also charged seven current and former
VW executives with crimes related to the scandal. One executive
is in custody and awaiting trial. Five of the seven are believed
to be in Germany and have not been arraigned.
German prosecutors are also investigating.
VW chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch said Monday the company
expects to broaden disciplinary action beyond the two dozen
employees it has already suspended.
As part of its U.S. emission settlements, VW agreed to spend
nearly $3 billion to offset excess emissions and make $2 billion
in investments in zero emission vehicle infrastructure and
awareness programs over a decade.
(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Alistair Bell)