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A US federal judge on Friday approved a settlement that will see Volkswagen pay $2.8bn in criminal fines for the diesel emissions scandal, six weeks after the German carmaker formally plead guilty in a Detroit courtroom.

The world’s largest carmaker plead guilty on March 10 to three felonies relating to a decade-long conspiracy to undermine US pollution standards.

VW had admitted in September 2015 that it equipped more than half a million US cars with software to cheat emissions tests, and in January it agreed to pay $4.3bn, comprising a $2.8bn criminal fine and a $1.5bn civil fine.

Judge Cox also assigned Larry Thompson to be an independent monitor overseeing VW for the next three years.

Mr Thompson is best known as President George W. Bush’s deputy Attorney General of the US. He also prosecuted Enron, served as chief counsel for PepsiCo, and taught corporate responsibility law at University of Georgia School of Law.

Last month Judge Cox had called VW’s deception “a very, very, very serious crime” and said he would consider a motion to allow additional restitution to victims. On Friday he rejected the request for such payments, saying the claims had already been covered by a consumer settlement last year in which VW agreed to buy back, or modify, the US cars involved in the scandal.

VW has set aside nearly €23bn for the scandal, with almost all of the costs to date stemming from the US, where the cheating was uncovered by the Environmental Protection Agency.

The carmaker has acknowledged that up to 9m cars in Europe were equipped with similar software, but VW has argued it did not breach EU laws and it has resisted calls for consumer payments.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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