A Toronto court has imposed Canada’s highest-ever environmental fine on Volkswagen over its diesel emissions scandal. The multi-million dollar penalty comes on top of compensation to vehicle owners in Canada.
Toronto Judge Enzo Rodinelli gave the German carmaker 30 days to pay the unprecedented fine worth $196.5 million Canadian dollars, ($150 million, €136 million), a sum prosecutor Tom Lemon said was 26 times greater than previous environmental offences in Canada.
The court’s ruling followed VW guilty pleas to 60 charges lodged by Canada in December after four years of investigation into the import of nearly 128,000 VW, Audi and Porsche vehicles between early 2008 and late 2015.
Lemon said the fine reflected “the gravity of the conduct” and was “unprecedented” in terms of federal Canadian environment judgments.
Replying, the German carmaker said the fine amounted to “resolution” of its efforts to “make things right in Canada,” adding that the payment would supply Canadian environmental projects.
Overall cost €30 billion
“Dieselgate,” the scandal that began unfolding in 2015, has so far cost Volkswagen more than €30 billion in legal fees, fines and compensation, mainly in the United States.
Prior to Wednesday’s ruling, VW had already agreed to outlay €2 billion to compensate Canadian owners by buying back or fixing affected vehicles.
The focus of Dieselgate was software in more than 11 million vehicles intentionally programmed to disguise regular pollution levels during vehicle testing.
Last week, Poland’s consumer watchdog, UOKiK, said it intended to fine Volkswagen for misleading customers. In Germany, a massive lawsuit involving hundreds of thousands of owners is still proceeding.
ipj/se (dpa, AFP, Reuters)