SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Latest on the settlement of environmental and consumer claims against Volkswagen over its emissions-cheating scandal (all times local):
Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates called Volkswagen's actions "one of the most flagrant violations of consumer and environmental laws in our nation's history." She said VW turned drivers into "unwitting accomplices" in pollution.
Speaking at a press conference in Washington, Yates called the settlement announced Tuesday "a significant first step toward holding Volkswagen accountable" but "by no means the last step." She noted that claims remain pending for other VW vehicles and under the Clean Air Act.
She added: "I can assure you that our criminal investigation is active and ongoing... We will follow the facts wherever they go."
Volkswagen admitted to programming cars with 2-liter diesel engines to cheat on emissions tests.
A U.S. senator who is on a committee that investigated the Volkswagen emissions cheating scandal says the scheme was one of the most egregious examples of corporate fraud in recent history.
Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., says the settlement is a victory for consumers and should serve as a deterrent to others "who seek to intentionally deceive the public."
Nelson is the ranking minority member of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee.
Volkswagen admitted to programming cars with 2-liter diesel engines to cheat on emissions tests. As part of a settlement announced Tuesday, it will offer to buy back the affected cars. Owners will also receive compensation of $5,100 to $10,000 depending on the age of the cars.
Volkswagen will be closely monitored even if it is able to fix the vehicles.
For the next five years, the settlement requires the company to notify the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board every time it tests one of the modified vehicles. The agencies will send representatives to observe those tests. If a vehicle fails a test, the company must notify the agencies within 72 hours and face possible penalties.
Volkswagen is also required to submit annual reports on its testing through 2023.
If Volkswagen is found to be selling any unrepaired vehicles, or returning unrepaired vehicles to owners, it must pay a penalty of $50,000 per vehicle.
Lawyers say Volkswagen's $14.7 billion settlement announced Tuesday is the largest auto-related consumer class-action settlement in U.S. history.
VW admitted to installing software that turned on pollution controls during emissions testing then turned them off when the cars were on the road.
As part of the settlement, the company must offer to buy back most of the affected 475,000 cars with diesel engines, or terminate their leases. That's because, according to court documents filed Tuesday, there currently is no repair that can bring the cars into compliance with U.S. pollution regulations. If VW does propose a repair, it must be approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board.
A federal court in San Francisco is soon expected to announce the details of Volkswagen's $14.7 billion settlement of claims related to its emissions-rigging scandal.
U.S. owners of cars with 2-liter diesel engines can choose to either sell their car back to VW or get a repair. They each will also receive compensation of $5,100 to $10,000, according to a person briefed on the settlement talks.
The settlement also includes $2.7 billion for environmental mitigation and another $2 billion for research on zero-emissions technology, the person said.
The person asked not to be identified because the deal will not be filed in court until later Tuesday.