Late yesterday, Volkswagen confirmed it had negotiated a $4.3 billion draft settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, and will plead guilty to criminal misconduct to resolve its diesel emissions cheating.
The men are accused of running a near decade-long conspiracy during their time at the firm and are being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violations of the Clean Air Act, and wire fraud, the USA attorney general Loretta Lynch said on Wednesday.
Prosecutors had also charged six Volkswagen executives and employees for their roles in the almost 10-year conspiracy, including Oliver Schmidt, who was a manager in charge of VW's environmental and engineering office in MI.
The carmaker has also agreed to be independently monitored for three years.
According to The New York Times, the company is expected to plead guilty to a number of charges including conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act and the obstruction of justice.
VW admitted in 2015 that about 11 million diesel cars worldwide were outfitted with so-called defeat devices, embedded algorithms used to game emissions tests.
Then, in May 2006, when VW was devising the EA-189 2.0-litre diesel engine - the cornerstone of a project to sell "clean diesel" cars in the USA - one engineer described the Audi software to a group of employees at the company's brand engine development department, said the new court documents.
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If it were to collapse there would be nothing holding the glaciers up and they would start to flow quite quickly indeed'. The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.
US authorities in 2015 uncovered the carmaker's efforts to deliberately cheat on emissions tests on diesel vehicles.
The company has already reached a $15 billion civil settlement with environmental regulators and USA auto owners, and it still faces a lawsuit and criminal probe in Germany.
Also Wednesday, a federal grand jury returned indictments for six Volkswagen officials in the case - Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis, Oliver Schmidt and Jürgen Peter, all of Germany.
Including these, the cost of settling various claims is expected to exceed $20 billion in the U.S., making it one of the most expensive corporate scandals in history.
Five of the indicted executives are in Germany, but the DoJ plans to collaborate with European enforcement agencies.
Regulators discovered that the excess emissions, which were not present during environmental tests of the cars, were released on the road because of "defeat device" software created to evade USA clean air laws.
Check back with MLive for more details following the press conference on the charges and settlement.