German automaker Volkswagen has begun talks with the United States Justice Department to reach a settlement over a criminal investigation into the dieselgate emissions scandal, reports Reuters.

It is thought the settlement could include a consent decree, independent oversight of the company’s activities for a given period of time, and a fine of up to $1.2 billion for breaching emissions rules.

The dieselgate scandal has already cost VW more than $15 billion in the U.S. alone. In June it agreed to spend $10 billion buying back or repairing all 475,000 2.0-liter diesel-engined cars affected by the ‘defeat device’ at the center of the affair.

In addition, $2 billion will be spent on schemes promoting zero-emissions vehicles and building infrastructure to support them. And nearly $3 billion will go to government and other agencies to help them reduce diesel emissions.

The cost of buying back or repairing the 85,000 3.0-liter diesel cars that have also been found to exceed emissions limits has not yet been determined, but is likely to run into the billions. Then there’s the cost of the recalls across the rest of the world to factor in, as well. And the settlements in any class action lawsuits that are brought.

Both Toyota and General Motors have paid substantial fines to settle criminal investigations. Toyota paid $1.2 billion after an investigation into the unintended acceleration debacle, while GM paid $900 million over the ignition-switch defect linked to 124 deaths.

Source: Reuters

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