S. Korea Seeks Criminal Prosecution Against VW Execs


Korea to Seek Criminal Prosecution Against VW Execs

The fallout surrounding Volkswagen’s emissions control cheating scandal continues to accumulate. Just weeks after the VW brand Audi was caught cheating emissions tests with both diesel and gasoline powered Audi models, the government of South Korea has announced that it plans to file criminal charges against five former and current executives at Volkswagen Group’s South Korean unit.

According to Automotive News reports, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) said that it would ask prosecutors to investigate VW’s headquarters, its South Korean unit, and five former and current executives, alleging that Volkswagen made “false, exaggerated, or deceptive” claims in its ads. If the charges hit home, possible punishment for the VW execs could range from jail terms of up to two years or fines of up to 150 million won.

Those potentially hefty criminal fines come in addition to more than 37 billion won fines ($31 million) levied against VW for false advertising on vehicle emissions in the Asian country, and a further 17.8 billion won fine for cheating on the emissions tests. All of those fines are in addition to the nearly $15 billion settlement with the American EPA, and does not include similar fines coming from China and the EU.

For its part, Audi-Volkswagen Korea (AVK) said that it was, “committed to rebuilding trust with the authorities and with customers and other stakeholders in Korea,” in a statement released earlier this week.

No word, yet, on how VW plans to deal with the criminal charges heading their way in a number of international courts- but that’s never stopped us from flaming them brutally in the comments section! Head on down to the bottom of the page and let us know what you think the courts should do with VW execs who knowingly participated in the scandal- and don’t worry about playing nice when you do.


Source: Automotive News Europe.

About the Author

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.
  • Guy Hall

    Roughly $50M. Plus China and EU. Is there a bankruptcy straw on the camel’s back?

    • TJC_Engineering

      Same thing i have been pondering. Globally, these fines are really beginning to pile up. They may as well retire the Volkswagen and Audi brands, for the same reason Microsoft began with a clean slate with the Edge browser. After years of nearly unanimous public ridicule of “Internet Explorer”, the most reviled web browser in history, the only way to win back the public’s trust was to engineer an all-new browser, complete with a new name, “Edge”. For the VW Group, to regain public trust, they will obviously require all-new management at the top, and probably need to offer an diverse all-new lineup of compelling zero emissions vehicles with new badges to replace Audi and VW. This is if they are not forced into bankrupcy or total government bail-out and restructuring like when General Motors became an epic failure.

  • roseland67

    Yes, yes, 1000 times yes,
    this company knowingly defrauded their global customer base & their dealers, then when caught, willfully hid incriminating evidence from investigators.
    There should be jail time and significant fines and restitution.

    If an example is not made of VW, then Ford, GM, Mercedes, Honda etc will do the same thing

    • Steve Hanley

      Ford, GM, Mercedes, Honda, etc ARE doing the same thing. Every manufacturer cheats. The only thing different in Volkswagen’s case is they got caught.

      • They got caught, yes. But I think their particular sin was two-fold: first, they loudly flaunted that they were the ONLY company to figure out how to make diesels pass emissions tests without urea filters- and, second, they marketed their cheating diesel products as clean, green hybrid alternatives.

        • Steve Hanley

          Both correct. They committed the sin of hubris. Big time, as Uncle Dick Cheney used to say.

      • James Rowland

        Well, they’re all gaming the (lousy) tests to make their products seem better than they actually are in real use. They’ve all been “caught” doing that, too.

        The difference with VW is that by using what is unambiguously a defeat device, they made their defiance actionable.

        The true lesson here is that when a poorly regulated market pushes car companies to the boundary between legal and illegal distortion, this only courts economic failure while not solving the pollution issue.

        It would be better for even the car companies to get away from combustion and pass its inherent pollution problem on. Policy should be designed to encourage the rapid retirement of ICE strategic investment that made electrification seem unattractive to them.

        Unfortunately, the general public does not seem to have mastered nuance yet, and have learned a different lesson. (Diesel bad! VW bad! Destroy!)

  • eveplayer77


  • Marek Zegarek

    lock them up

    • If they didn’t lock them up for the A3, they won’t lock them up for this. LOL!!

  • Ed

    The German government will not let VW fail; simply too big and too critical to their economy.

    Other car manufacturers are playing at the fringes of the standards, and the EU is irresponsible and complicit for allowing it.

    The German government should make sure a dozen or so very guilty persons go to jail for a while, especially the guys at the top who created the culture that made these acts acceptable.

    So, at this stage, what can be done to maximize the outcome? Some thoughts from a non-expert:
    1. The US EPA wisely settled, doing so in a way that will bring the most good from the remedy. This needs to be highly publicized in support of zero emission thinking.
    2. Make sure VW cannot escape a commitment to electrification as “survival penance.” Enlist the German government to make sure it happens.
    3. Governments should discourage the use of Diesel technology as a means to meet future emission needs. Setting a requirement on ammonia emissions would help, since urea injection can result in such emissions.
    4. Raise gasoline prices to no less than $4.00 per gallon via a federal fuel tax, with all of these funds committed to the mobility infrastructure, including charging networks.

    I know: I am out here in dreamland that these things can happen easily…but maybe a dialog will get started.

    • bioburner

      ED agreed. Raising the gas taxes so that gasoline is $4 per gallon would fund fixing the roads. Which we need. If gasoline was taxed to raise the price to $8 per gallon so many problems would disappear.

      • Ed

        At $8 per gallon, debt gets paid down, infrastructure expands, jobs for all and we finally get serious about conservation and leaving a good world for our children!