German automaker, Volkswagen pleaded guilty on Friday to fraud, obstruction of justice and misleading statements as part of a $4.3 billion settlement made with the U.S. Justice Department in January concerning diesel emissions scandal.
It was the first time the automaker has pleaded guilty to criminal conduct in any court worldwide, a company spokesman stated, and comes as the company strives to put the most costly ever auto industry scandal behind it.
By September 2015 it was known that Volkswagen intentionally cheated on emissions tests for a minimum of six years led resulting in the ouster of its CEO, harmed the company’s reputation worldwide and generated massive bills.
In overall, Volkswagen has accepted to spend up to $25 billion in the United States to resolve claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealerships and offered to buy back around 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.
Volkswagen’s general counsel Manfred Doess made the plea on its behalf following his statement at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit that he was approved by the company’s board of directors to enter a guilty plea.
“Your honor, VW AG is pleading guilty to all three counts as it is guilty on all three counts,” Doess said to the court.
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox agreed on the automaker’s guilty plea to conspiracy to commit fraud, obstruction and entry of goods by incorrect statement charges and scheduled an April 21 sentencing date, where he must choose whether to approve the points of the plea agreement.