Volkswagen pleads guilty to all criminal charges in emissions cheating scandal

The German automaker admits scheme to skirt pollution rules justifies felony conspiracy and obstruction of justice, in what attorney calls ‘calculated offense’

Volkswagen pleaded guilty on Friday to conspiracy and obstruction of justice charges in a brazen scheme to get around US pollution rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles by using software to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.

The German automaker has already agreed to pay $4.3bn in civil and criminal penalties – the largest ever levied by the US government against an automaker –although VW’s total cost of the scandal has been pegged at about $21bn, including a pledge to repair or buy back vehicles.

Related: VW becomes world’s No 1 carmaker despite diesel emissions scandal

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