Several former and current execs at VW in South Korea also face investigations that could lead to prison time.
Volkswagen Group is in more trouble over its emissions scandal, and this time authorities in South Korea are fining the company 37.3 billion won ($32 million) for false advertising – a record-setting amount there for the infraction. The country’s Fair Trade Commission said that the German automaker made inaccurate statements about vehicles being environmentally friendly in ads while the engines were actually producing illegal amounts of pollution. The group also asked prosecutors to investigate five current or former high-ranking employees from the firm’s South Korean division, according to Reuters.
The execs under investigation include André Konsbruck who is currently Audi’s Vice President Sales for the Americas and Terence Bryce Johnsson, the company’s Head of Sales Overseas. According to Reuters, they could face up to two years in prison and as much as 150-million won ($129,120) in fines.
South Korean officials haven’t been afraid to levy serious punishments against VW Group for the automaker’s emissions cheating. For example, the country already fined the company 17.8 billion won ($15.34 million at the time) in August for falsifying emissions and noise certifications.
The country’s regulators also mandated that VW Group stop selling 80 models, including some from the Volkswagen brand, Audi, and Bentley. The company initially considered suing the government in an effort to overturn the ban, but the automaker eventually reconsidered. The firm’s execs decided that the cash that would have been spent fighting in court was better invested on recertifying the affected vehicles.
Elsewhere in the world, VW reached a $14.7-billion civil settlement over the scandal in the United States, and the agreement included a $10-billion buyback campaign for models with the 2.0-liter diesel four-cylinder. There’s no official solution for the 3.0-liter V6 diesel yet, and a prospective agreement reportedly includes repurchasing 19,000 of the vehicles from owners and repairing 60,000 of them.