Calls rise for gov’t to fine VW further

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Calls rise for gov’t to fine VW further

Calls for the Korean government to file a lawsuit against Volkswagen are getting louder after news reports that said the U.S. government is seeking compensation of up to $90 billion from the German automaker.

According to U.S. media reports on Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen’s headquarters in Germany and Volkswagen America to seek compensation. Reportedly, the compensation amount wasn’t specified in the petition, but U.S. media reports said the compensation ranges from $1.8 billion to $90 billion, which is about 40 percent of revenues that the German automaker made in 2014.

Under such circumstances, some are saying that the ministry’s punishment of only a 14.2 billion won ($11.9 million) fine, which the automaker has already paid, was too light.

“The Ministry of Environment should ask prosecutors to investigate Volkswagen for its violations on the air environmental conservation law,” said attorney Ha Jong-sun of the law firm Barun who is representing a total of 3,937 Korean Volkswagen and Audi owners seeking compensation from the automaker.

However, additional action is looking unlikely.

“The government isn’t considering it because Volkswagen already paid the fine we imposed,” said Hong Dong-gon, head of the Environment Ministry’s traffic environment division. “There is no reason we should follow the lead of the U.S. government.”

According to the ministry, Volkswagen Korea submitted a recall plan on Wednesday that included details of how it will fix the technical problems of 125,522 cars found to have cheated during emissions tests.

“We will carefully review the recall plan and might ask the automaker to submit additional plans if we judge that the recall isn’t good enough,” Hong said.


BY KWON SANG-SOO [kwon.sangsoo@joongang.co.kr]



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