A U.S. District Court judge on April 21 ordered Volkswagen to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty for cheating on diesel emissions tests.
VW pleaded guilty in March to conspiracy and obstruction of justice in a scheme involving nearly 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. The cars were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road.
(Read "VW Pleads Guilty in Emission Scandal.")
"It was an intentional effort on the part of a major corporation to evade U.S. law and lie to U.S. regulators," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Neal told the judge.
Separately, VW is paying $1.5 billion in a civil case, mostly to settle allegations brought by U.S. environmental regulators, and spending $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation.
Seven employees have also been charged with crimes in the U.S., but five are in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited.
In brief remarks to the judge, VW defense attorney Jason Weinstein says the criminal fine is an "appropriate and serious sanction."
A former Justice Department official, Larry Thompson, will serve as a monitor to ensure that VW complies with the plea agreement, which includes three years of probation and complete future cooperation with any inquiries by investigators.
U.S. regulators confronted VW about the cheating software after West Virginia University researchers discovered differences in testing and real-world emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide. VW eventually admitted that the cars were programmed to turn pollution controls on during testing and off while on the road.