Canadian judge approves $149 million fine against Volkswagen over diesel emissions

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A judge in Canada has approved a C$196.5 million ($149.7 million) fine against Volkswagen AG on Wednesday once the company pleaded guilty to dozens of counts of diesel emissions infractions.

Volkswagen was charged in December with importing almost 128,000 vehicles into Canada breaching emissions standards. VW pleaded guilty after being charged with 60 counts of violating the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and giving misleading information.

The fine was by far the largest environmental penalty in the history of Canada, prosecutors stated.

“This resolution serves the public interest. It reflects the gravity of the conduct and is consistent with Canadian sentencing principles,” stated prosecutor Tom Lemon. “This is an unprecedented fine in Canada. It is 26 times greater than the highest federal environmental fine ever imposed.”

Prosecutors had proposed the fine to resolve the issue previously on Wednesday.

“The resolution acknowledges the extensive measures by Volkswagen to make things right in Canada and strengthen its worldwide compliance policies. The payment from the company will be used to support environmental projects nationally and in the provinces throughout the country,” Volkswagen stated.

Volkswagen confessed that they used illegal software to cheat U.S. pollution tests in 2015, triggering an international backlash against diesel vehicles that have so far cost it more than 30 billion euros ($33.3 billion) in fines, penalties, and buyback costs. In May 2019, it set aside an extra 5.5 billion euros in contingent liabilities as it continued to deal with penalties and lawsuits across the world.

Last week, Poland’s consumer watchdog, UOKiK, stated it was fining Volkswagen over 120 million zlotys ($31.4 million) for misleading consumers about the emissions of its vehicles.

Volkswagen earlier agreed to spend up to C$2.4 billion ($1.8 billion) to buy back or repair 125,000 polluting diesel and compensate owners in Canada. Volkswagen earlier paid C$17.5 million ($13.3 million) in fines in Canada to resolve a Competition Bureau investigation.

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