Volkswagen can face U.S. SEC lawsuit concerning emissions cheating

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Volkswagen stated the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission may sue the automaker due to its failure to reveal its diesel emissions scandal to investors.

VW said in its annual report released previously this week that the SEC investigation focuses on the automaker’s nondisclosure of “certain Volkswagen diesel vehicles’ noncompliance” with U.S. emissions regulations.

Volkswagen has not made any comments.

Volkswagen has agreed to pay over $25 billion in the United States in relation with “Dieselgate” for claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers, and has offered to purchase back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.

VW confessed in September 2015 to secretly setting up software in almost 500,000 U.S. vehicles to cheat government exhaust emissions tests and pleaded guilty in 2017. Overall, 13 people have been charged in the United States, including four Audi managers.

Regulators and investors have sought penalties and damages from the automaker, arguing the automaker should have told investors in a more timely fashion about the size and scope of fines associated with its diesel emissions cheating scandal. German securities law needs Volkswagen to publish market sensitive news in a timely fashion.

The automaker confessed to U.S. regulators to having used an illegal “defeat device” on September 3, 2015, but did not tell investors. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and California’s Air Resources Board made automaker’s cheating public on September 18, 2015.

Volkswagen has argued that it was not required to inform investors earlier because it did not believe it was dealing with fines in totaling billions of dollars.

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