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Michael Kern

Michael Kern

Michael Kern is a newswriter and editor at Safehaven.com, Oilprice.com, and a writer at Macro-Investing.com. 

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Is Dieselgate Finally Over?

Five years after the massive Dieselgate scandal made global headlines, a German court is now ready to wrap up the case against Volkswagen, ordering the automaker to pay out as much as €750,000,000 in damages.

A German court has ruled that Volkswagen must buy back vehicles from owners of its diesel cars and trucks that were equipped with software that deceived emissions testing. The buyback, however, comes with one condition. Customers must accept the current worth of the cars and trucks based on the mileage they drove, not the original purchase price of the vehicles.

The judgement will force the company to re-purchase over 60,000 vehicles, totaling more than 750 million euros. 

“For the majority of the 60,000 pending cases, this ruling provides clarity,” the company said in a statement. “Volkswagen is now seeking to bring these proceedings to a prompt conclusion in agreement with the plaintiffs."

In a separate court, Volkswagen agreed to pay 9 million euros to end proceedings against its chairman and president. The pair were accused of withholding key information that could move markets before the emissions scandal broke.

In September 2015, Volkswagen confessed to cheating emissions inspections on diesel engines using software to hide the true emissions each vehicle was emitting. The scandal has already cost the company more than 30 billion euros ($33 billion) in regulatory penalties and vehicle refits.

U.S. authorities prohibited the affected vehicles after the software was discovered, triggering cases for compensation. Oliver Schmidt, an ex-executive of the company was sentenced to 7 years in prison and a fine of $400,000 for his role in the scandal, while Martin Winterkorn, the company's ex-CEO, was charged in Germany. Winterkorn's trial is ongoing, but it was recently reported that the disgraced CEO may still walk free from the charges, and even keep over $12 million in bonuses. 

Volkswagen isn't entirely cleared just yet. The company is still facing major lawsuits from its investors - but the end of dieselgate is finally in sight for this auto giant.

By Michael Kern for Oilprice.com

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