VW admits emissions cheating and cover-up, will pay US $4.3B

FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, file photo, the grille of a Volkswagen car for sale is decorated with the iconic company symbol in Boulder, Colo. Germany's Volkswagen, already reeling from news that it had cheated on U.S. tests for nitrogen oxide emissions, said Tuesday, Nov. 3, that an internal investigation had revealed "unexplained inconsistencies" in the carbon dioxide emissions from 800,000 vehicles that could cost the company another 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion). The revelation comes after VW's admission in September that it rigged emissions tests for four-cylinder diesel engines on 11 million cars worldwide, including almost 500,000 in the U.S. It has already set aside 6.7 billion euros ($7.4 billion) to cover the costs of recalling those vehicles. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Volkswagen is pleading guilty to three criminal charges and will pay $4.3 billion to the U.S. government for cheating on emissions tests and destroying evidence in an elaborate cover-up.

The penalty is the largest against an automaker in U.S. history. The government also said a grand jury has returned an indictment against six VW executives and employees for their roles in the scheme.

The deal announced Wednesday also requires VW to cooperate in an ongoing probe that could lead to the arrest of more employees.

Government documents accuse six VW supervisors of lying to environmental regulators or destroying computer files containing evidence.

VW admitted programming diesel engines to turn on pollution controls during government tests and switch them off in real-world driving. .

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