The Department of Justice found evidence Volkswagen is criminally liable in the ongoing emissions investigation, according to a Tuesday report from The Wall Street Journal.
The investigation centers around whether or not the German car company was cheating its monitoring of diesel emissions. (RELATED: Volkswagen Slammed Again, This Time With Lawsuit From The DOJ)
The U.S. prosecutors and Volkswagen officials are working on terms of a settlement that will likely cost the German auto company a hefty sum, reports the Wall Street Journal. Currently, some 1.5 million Volkswagen documents are being investigated in regards to this case.
The speed of the settlement is hindered by complications from three separate civil suits against the company, Reuters reports. The negotiations are currently trying to come up with a fine that would encompass both the civil suits and the Federal investigation.
Volkswagen confessed to cheating the public by installing emissions-cheating software in some 600,000 vehicles, and paid $15 billion out to consumers and regulators because of the fraud. The company also set aside “$10.033 billion to cover buybacks or fixes for 475,000 2.0 liter diesel cars and sport utility vehicles that used illegal software,” according to Reuters.
The U.S. Department of Justice and the prosecutors from U.S. attorney’s office in Detroit are figuring out if they want to pursue a guilty plea from Volkswagen or if they want to reach a settlement in the case.
While the company itself is under investigation and is criminally liable for the fraud, the U.S. prosecutors have yet to state if they will hold individual employees that installed these devices liable as well, the Journal reports.
The Department of Justice has hinted that the total penalty Volkswagen could face might exceed the $1.2 billion, which Toyota received for similarly concealing aspects of their vehicles.