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Volkswagen expected back in court to plead guilty to environment charges

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TORONTO – German automaker Volkswagen is expected back in court in Toronto today to plead guilty to environment-related charges.

The company had wanted to enter a guilty plea to 60 charges last month but the case was delayed.

The offences relate to an international scandal in which the company cheated on emissions tests.

The federal government charged the auto giant with 58 infractions under the Environmental Protection Act.

Volkswagen also faces two counts of providing misleading information.

In court last month, defence lawyers said they intended to take responsibility, but the resolution was delayed while three people sought to make victim-impact statements and provide other input.

Ontario court Judge Enzo Rondinelli ruled against them, saying it’s not their role to prosecute the company accused of harming them.

Prosecutor Tom Lemon said at the time he would gather victim impact statements and review them before submitting them to the court on Jan. 22, in line with the typical process.

The federal government alleges Volkswagen imported 128,000 cars into Canada between 2008 and 2015 that violated pollution standards.

The company pleaded guilty in U.S. court in 2017 and was fined $4.3 billion. German prosecutors fined the company one-billion euros in the emissions-cheating case in 2018.

Several company executives and managers were charged in the U.S. and Germany, and some were sent to prison.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 22, 2020.

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