South Korea Arrests VW Official Over Fuel Cheating Scandal, Gets Sued By Nissan

REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

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Chris White Tech Reporter
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Nissan Motor’s South Korean unit announced it is suing the South Korea government over accusations it cheated on emissions, as well as for fines the environmental regulators enacted on the company.

The country’s environment ministry fined Nissan $290,000, and ordered Nissan recall more than 800 Qashqai utility vehicles, accusing the Japanese car marker of affixing cheat devices on their vehicles.

“We have filed the lawsuit to dispute the ministry’s accusations,” a spokesman for Nissan told reporters.

The ministry, for its part, filed a complaint with prosecutors against the company, charging the company and its president, Takehiko Kikuchi, of violating an environmental law.

“We believe that we have taken appropriate legal action,” a ministry official said.

Additionally, South Korea on Friday issued a warrant for the arrest of a Volkswagen official over last year’s fuel-emission cheating scandal.

South Korea targeted Nissan Motors despite the automaker’s decision earlier this year to rat out Mitsubishi’s manipulation of fuel-emission testing data. Mitsubishi modified the load weight of the cars during testing, which made them appear more efficient.

Mitsubishi accepted, at the time, that the testing method “provided more advantageous fuel consumption rates than the actual rates.” Nissan noted and reported the discrepancy between the real-world figures and Mitsubishi’s claims during a testing session.

The government’s decision to crack down on Volkswagen comes after the company agreed on Thursday to pay $10.2 billion to settle its U.S. emissions scandal case, according to reports from the Associated Press; the payout could be the largest by any automaker in history.

The reporting comes from two anonymous sources briefed on the issue.

The incident stems from a scandal last year that involved the company affixing 482,000 diesel vehicles with cheating devices that switched off emissions-measurement data during road-testing conditions. Volkswagen will pay out between $1,000 and $7,000 per vehicle in compensation, and it has promised to fix the vehicles free of charge.

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