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Volkswagen to pay $2.8 billion in US diesel emission scandal

LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25: Used cars by German manufacturer Volkswagen are parked at a dealership in Battersea on September 25, 2015 in London, England. The Department for Transport's Vehicle Certification Agency, the UK's national approval authority for new road vehicles, has announced that it will re-run laboratory tests on engines and compare the results with emissions from on-the-road tests in the wake of the VW test-rigging scandal. The German car manufacturer has admitted selling vehicles in the US with diesel engines that could detect when they were being tested for emission, changing the vehicles performance accordingly in order to improve results. (Photo by Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

DETROIT  — Volkswagen has been ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal penalty in the United States for cheating on diesel emissions tests.

Federal Judge Sean Cox in Detroit followed the deal negotiated by VW and the U.S. Justice Department. The sentence was ordered Friday, six weeks after the German automaker pleaded guilty to conspiracy and obstruction of justice.

VW admits that nearly 600,000 diesel cars in the U.S. were programmed to turn on pollution controls during testing and off while on the road.

VW attorney Jason Weinstein says the criminal fine is an “appropriate and serious sanction.”

Separately, VW is paying $1.5 billion in a civil case brought by the government and spending $11 billion to buy back cars and offer other compensation. Seven employees have also been charged.