Volkswagen diesel engineer pleads guilty in US criminal probe

A Volkswagen engineer has been charged as part of its criminal probe into the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal. The engineer is expected to enter into a plea agreement that includes his cooperation with the government in its ongoing investigation

Fabian Bimmer/Reuters/File
The logo of a Volkswagen Beetle car is seen at the so called "Sunshinetour 2016" in Travemuende at the Baltic Sea,

The U.S. Justice Department said a Volkswagen engineer has been charged as part of its criminal probe into the German automaker's diesel emissions scandal.

The engineer was appearing in U.S. District Court in Detroit on Friday and is expected to enter into a plea agreement that includes his cooperation with the government in its ongoing investigation, a department spokesman said. VW has already agreed to spend up to $16.5 billion to address environmental, state and owner claims in the United States.

This is the second setback in the United States for VW this week. The state of Vermont announced Wednesday that it would be suing Volkswagen and its affiliates, saying the automaker's diesel emissions-rigging scheme violated the state's consumer and environmental laws.

VW agreed this summer to spend as much as $15 billion to settle complaints about the cheating.

Attorney General William Sorrell said Thursday that Vermont rejected part of the proposed settlement that would have paid the state about $1,000 per vehicle for violating consumer protection laws.

Sorrell says Volkswagen, Audi AG, Porsche AG and their American subsidiaries polluted Vermont's air, covered up their wrongdoing to mislead environmental regulators and sold the vehicles at a premium while deceptively advertising them as "environmentally friendly."

Volkswagen Group of America Inc. said it's committed to reaching a fair resolution of claims in the U.S. It says it received Vermont's complaint and will respond appropriately.

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