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In the years since it failed to prosecute a single Wall Street executive involved in the global financial crisis, the U.S. Department of Justice has repeatedly promised to hold corporate executives liable for wrongdoing. But on Monday, when it sued Volkwagen over the automaker's scheme to disguise the illegally high amounts of poisonous gases its cars were spewing into the air, the DOJ brought no criminal charges against the company or its employees.
The German automaker, one of the largest in the world, admitted on Sept. 22 to installing software meant to cheat on emissions tests in 11 million of its diesel vehicles. Prosecutors allege the company attempted to scam the public and deliberately hid this fact from regulators, obstructed investigators, and lied to federal authorities.
By suing Volkswagen but not pursuing criminal cases against the company or its employees, the Justice Department is repeating the mistakes it made in the wake of the financial crisis, consumer advocates argue. In the years after the meltdown, several big banks effectively bought their way out of criminal charges by agreeing to pay billions of dollars to government agencies and aggrieved households. And despite widespread fraud, no top bankers were prosecuted.
Obama administration officials have repeatedly promised that kind of impunity won't continue.
The case against Volkswagen "is a perfect opportunity for the Justice Department to live up to its word," said Mike Litt, who works on consumer issues for U.S. PIRG, the Federation of State Public Interest Research Groups.
The allegations against Volkwagen are "truly heinous," said Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, a Washington-based advocacy group. In its civil complaint against Volkswagen, the Justice Department accused the company of "knowingly" concealing from federal regulators that it had installed software designed to cheat emissions tests in about 580,000 of its diesel cars sold in the U.S. The automaker also "impeded and obstructed" regulators' efforts for about a year to learn about the "defeat device" that allowed the company to cheat the emissions tests, according to the complaint.
originally posted by: TrueBrit
a reply to: Krazysh0t
Failure to address corporate crime properly, will result in an even greater loss of respect for the law, than has already occurred over the last couple of decades.