Volkswagen could face corporate manslaughter charges in US
Volkswagen, errant car manufacturer, may face corporate manslaughter charges in the US if its deliberate rigging of vehicle emission tests is found linked to pollution deaths by road users there.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston has conducted a study, which has estimated that 53,000 premature deaths each year in the US can be attributed to air-pollutant emissions from ‘road transportation’ sources.
Although, some observers think that such charges are not going to be imposed, the US authorities have shown their keenness to prosecute main corporations to the fullest extent of the law. The corporations include BP for the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010 which was pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The former CEO and owner of the Peanut Corporation of America was last month sent to prison for 28 years for his role in a salmonella outbreak due to which nine people lost their lives across the US. One of the biggest food recalls in US history took place due to the contamination at the company’s now-closed plant in Blakely in Georgia.
The former CEO, Stewart Parnell was arrested on federal conspiracy charges, and his brother was sent to prison for 20 years on the same charges. But the car manufacturers in the US have faced lenient treatment.
To cover-up a faulty ignition switch design that led to 124 deaths, General Motors settled with the Justice Department for $900 million and no criminal charges.
In Germany and the United States, VW is already facing serious criminal charges for fraud and violation of air pollution laws.
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