Prosecutors in Germany say that the $15 billion Volkswagen is spending on its settlement agreement in the US will not be considered as they seek fines of their own in relation to the diesel emissions scandal, reports Automotive News.

“We cannot pay heed to what VW may have to pay in other countries when we go about setting the fine,” a spokesman for the Brunswick prosecutors office said today. “We cannot say: ‘VW is already requested to pay a lot in the US, so let’s not be so strict.’ That’s not possible.”

The announcement comes following popular discontent with the way that the heavily invested German government has dealt with the emissions scandal. Penalties in Europe have been relatively lenient as compared to the US settlement, which has led some prominent officials to say that European customers are being treated worse than their American counterparts.

Volkswagen Werk Wolfsburg


Matthias Muller stated last week that Volkswagen would not voluntarily give its European customers a payout like they did its American customers implying that to do so would be ruinously expensive.

To plan for the legal costs relating to the emissions scandal, VW set aside $18 billion dollars in its budget this year. The company said that the figure would be enough to cover the penalties and fines relating to the scandal, but after only one settlement in the US they have spent nearly all of that contingency fund.

Fortunately for VW, though, the remainder may still be enough to cover these German fines. The Brunswick prosecutors will specifically be investigating VW on the economic advantage it gained from the cheating software, and determining its fine based on that.

Industry observers estimate that the resultant fine could be in the hundreds of millions of euros range, reports Automotive News. VW’s remaining, roughly, $3 billion would be able to cover that. That said, VW still faces criminal probes in the US, Germany, and South Korea as well as from investors all over the world.

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