US issues arrest warrants for former VW execs over emissions cheating
According to the Suddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, the five are accused of conspiring to commit fraud and violating US environmental regulations. At least two were reportedly confidants of former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn.
The German daily suggested Berlin will not hand over the accused to the American authorities. It said that if found guilty the suspects would face extremely long jail sentences compared to German sentencing standards. They, however, will be unable to leave Germany due to the risk of being extradited to the United States from a third country.
Former Volkswagen manager Oliver Schmidt was arrested earlier this year in Miami as he was about to fly to Germany. He was charged with conspiracy and other crimes in the company's scheme to sell around 600,000 vehicles that failed to comply with US pollution standards. Schmidt faces up to 25 years in prison.
In 2015, the world's largest automaker Volkswagen admitted to US regulators it had cheated on emissions tests using software installed in as many as 11 million diesel vehicles sold worldwide. The scandal forced VW CEO Martin Winterkorn to resign.
The company has settled with the US authorities agreeing to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty.
Volkswagen also agreed to pay $1.5 billion in a civil lawsuit brought by the US government, and spend $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation.
Under the terms of the settlement negotiated in January, VW also agreed to the appointment of an independent monitor to observe the company's compliance and control measures for three years.