Stellantis to pay $300 million for diesel engine fraud

Washington, Aug 1 A federal court on Monday sentenced FCA US, the division of Stellantis in the United States, to pay almost 300 million dollars for fraudulently manipulating the emissions of diesel engines in vehicles produced between 2014 and 2016.

The United States Department of Justice explained in a statement that FCA US will pay a fine of 96.1 million dollars. The company will also have $203.5 million seized and will be placed on probation for three years.

Last June, FCA US and the Department of Justice reached a settlement in which the automaker pleaded guilty to fraud that occurred when FCA US’s parent company was called Fiat Chrysler (FCA).

FCA and the French group PSA merged last year to create Stellantis.

Under the terms of the ruling, FCA US conspired to defraud US authorities and its customers by concealing the actual emissions from its 3-liter EcoDiesel engines in 104,000 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 model vehicles.

Three company employees – Emanuele Palma, Sergio Pasini and Gianluca Sabbioni – were charged with conspiring to defraud the US government, among other charges, and are awaiting trial.

Similar to “dieselgate”, the deception perpetrated by Volkswagen (VW) with its diesel engines, FCA US installed software that masked the emissions and consumption of the engines when they were subjected to official tests.

In 2015 VW admitted that it used software to fake the real emissions of its diesel engines in the United States and was forced to pay billions of dollars in fines and compensation.

In addition, several VW managers were jailed and others had to resign after the fraud was revealed.

The software installed by FCA US allowed the company to advertise its vehicles as the cleanest and most efficient when in fact they did not comply with US regulations.

Deputy Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Kenneth Polite, said the ruling “shows that companies involved in misleading US regulators, or their own consumers, will be held accountable.”

The agreement reached between the company and the Department of Justice states that FCA US agrees to continue to cooperate with future investigations of diesel engine fraud.

FCA US will also establish an ethics program to prevent and detect fraudulent conduct in the company. EFE


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