Investigators at the Justice Department are serious enough about sleuthing out the foundations of dieselgate that they are sending lawyers to Germany.
Lawyers from United States Justice Department continue to question top Volkswagen Group executives about their role in the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, including making trips to Germany to speak with them directly. Many of those company bosses have now hired defense attorneys in the U.S just in case the DoJ’s investigation leads to criminal charges, according to Automotive News citing anonymous sources.
The Justice Department’s lawyers might offer plea deals or other agreements as a way for lower level VW Group workers to talk about their boss’ knowledge of the emissions cheating. The attorneys already demonstrated this tactic when James Robert Liang agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in exchange for a plea bargain. He told investigators about other people who helped develop the cheat software.
VW Group has maintained that none of its top executives had any knowledge of the emissions cheating. It could be several months before prosecutors at the DoJ decide whether there’s enough evidence to pursue criminal charges against them. The timeframe means that Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s prospective Attorney General, might have the final word about how whether the cases go to trial.
According to Automotive News, U.S. prosecutors could encounter a problem actually getting execs into American courts, if they decide to press charges. Germany wouldn’t extradite the bosses to America to stand trial. The DoJ could issue warrants for people, which would prevent them from going to countries that might be more willing to cooperate with the government’s efforts.
VW already reached a $14.7 billion civil settlement in the U.S. over its 2.0-liter diesel engine, including over $10 billion in vehicle buy backs. Another huge financial blow could come from a rumored campaign for the 3.0-liter V6 TDI powerplant. The company would reportedly repair 60,000 vehicles with the mill and repurchase 19,000 of them from owners.
Source: Automotive News