Sentence Next For Volkswagen in US Diesel Emissions Scandal

People walk past signage for Volkswagen AG in the company booth at the Auto Shanghai 2017 vehicle show in Shanghai China on Thursday

In an unprecedented settlement, Volkswagen has been ordered to pay $2.8 billion to the U.S.as a criminal penalty in court, pushing the company's massive emissions scandal closer to its end.

"The agreements that we have reached with the USA government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear", the statement said, in part.

Cox had wanted more time to consider the plea deal and fine negotiated by VW and the U.S. Justice Department.

Part of the agreement calls for federal monitoring of future business operations.

VW eventually admitted that the cars were programmed to turn pollution controls on during testing and off while on the road. Volkswagen has pledged to develop more battery-powered vehicles in the coming years.

Volkswagen, now the world's largest automaker, could have been fined anywhere from $17 billion to $34 billion under US law but was said to be cooperative, engaged - save for a few executives and workers who obstructed the investigation - and actively correcting its corporate culture. Volkswagen at first denied the use of the so-called defeat device but finally admitted it in September 2015.

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Separately, an engineer who pleaded guilty to criminal conduct for helping Volkswagen cheat on emissions tests, James Liang, is scheduled to be sentenced in May.

Former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson has been selected as the Independent Compliance Monitor to make sure the automaker complies with federal regulators and the terms of the criminal and civil settlements.

The wide-ranging scandal, which began in 2005 as the automaker raced to develop an engine created to meet tougher USA regulations, has caused a massive shakeup of the company's top executives, even though none of them have admitted to wrongdoing. One executive is in custody and awaiting trial and another pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate. Judge Cox accepted Volkswagen's guilty plea in March to criminal charges, but postponed sentencing until Friday.

"There is a company-wide commitment from the highest levels of leadership to continue with these reforms", he said.

"We have taken significant steps to strengthen accountability, enhance transparency and build a better company and we look forward to working closely with Mr. Thompson as we press forward with the biggest change process in Volkswagen's history", said Ms. Hiltrud Werner, Board Member of Integrity and Legal Affairs at Volkswagen AG.

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