A NEW front has opened in the dieselgate legal suits against Volkswagen with South Korea announcing the company’s executives operating in the country will face criminal charges over allegations of emissions cheating on a variety of diesel engines.
South Korea’s Ministry of Environment has rejected Volkswagen’s proposed fix for its TDI engines with emission issues. Along with the rejection, the Ministry of Environment has decided to bring the local executives of the German company to court with criminal complaints.
US regulators said last week Volkswagen will face court action after the company’s plans to fix the offending vehicles was rejected.
The South Korean officials stated that the fix proposed by Volkswagen “lacked key information, and thus is unacceptable.
A third front remains unresolved as shareholders and customers mull their legal options for civil lawsuits.
South Korea already has fined Volkswagen with the equivalent of US$12.3 million (RM54.2 million), The Wall Street Journal reported.
Seoul has also ordered the company to recall more than 125,000 vehicles to fix the emission control devices on the Dieselgate-affected TDI engines.
However, the South Korean government asked the German company to show how it would improve its emissions on the affected cars without diminishing fuel efficiency.
The German carmaker did just that on January 6, 2016, the deadline to propose its fix, but the South Korean officials rejected it because it did not fully comply with their requests.
If the Volkswagen executives charged by the South Korean government are convicted, they risk up to five years in jail and a fine of up to 30 million won, the rough equivalent of US$2.5 million.
Audi Volkswagen Korea has already replied to the South Korean government’s demands and stated that they will offer explanations on their proposed fix.
The South Korean car market is significant to the German corporation, as nearly a third of all cars imported into the country last year were Volkswagen and Audi models.