Civilly, the company’s liabilities could exceed the $14 billion for which it has already agreed to with the US government. Criminally, the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating.
The Volkswagen scandal is “one of the most flagrant violations of environmental and consumer laws,” Sally Q. Yates, deputy attorney general of the United States, said at a previous press conference, as reported in the press. Her comments were limited to the civil settlement.
In 2014, researchers at West Virginia University tested the Volkswagen and the Audi and discovered that the cars had been releasing more pollutants that the parent company had said. That’s when the car maker set out to systematically deceive consumers and regulators, the attorneys general maintain.
“It is regrettable that some states have decided to sue for environmental claims now,” a representative from Volkswagen has said, as noted by the New York Times.