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Is Volkswagen threatening another $ 1 billion fine in the United States? | Economy | DW

Volkswagen has suffered a major setback in the US legal battle over further fines for the Dieselgate scandal. The Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that sanctions could be pursued against a vehicle manufacturer for improper exhaust gas handling, in addition to the fines already agreed upon at the federal level. According to VW, similar regional operations will erupt in Ohio – the Wolfsburg-based car company could face billions in fines again.

When asked, Volkswagen announced that it would like to bring the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The panel believes that claims by individual states in the emission scandal are being offset by fines and compensation already paid by VW for violating the Clean Air Act across the country. Clean air frame Had to pay. Many U.S. courts have come to this conclusion in similar cases.

Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost said in a statement, “This is an important decision. It is not yet decided how the state will proceed in this case, but the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the doors to be opened for trial.

A trillion dollar fine?

Ohio ruling poses greater financial risk to VW, court ruling shows. Judges 6 to 1 were in favor of allowing further fines against the company. Judge Michael Tonelli, who was the only judge against it, imposed additional fines that VW could theoretically impose “over a trillion dollars”. Ohio is one of many places – the automaker has faced similar lawsuits in other U.S. states.

In September 2015, VW acknowledged that under pressure from US environmental officials, it had been manipulating diesel cars’ exhaust technology for years with special software (Defeat Device). The group has already recorded costs of around 32 32 billion for the scandal – mostly fines in the United States. But VW will face more costly hurdles. As the Court of Appeals decided in June 2020, additional penalties are allowed at the regional level even if the settlements have already been finalized. It covers cases from two counties in the states of Florida and Utah, however, which may lead the way nationally.

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The appellate judges said they were aware that their decision could place “suffocating burdens” on VW. Based on regional lists of fines in the two districts, the fines could be as high as $ 11.2 billion a year. In this case, VW had already approached the US Supreme Court in the capital, Washington, in January to avoid further fines.

hb / dk (dpa)