EconomyFinancialFrench authorities accuse Peugeot of 'dieselgate'

French authorities accuse Peugeot of 'dieselgate'

After Volkswagen in May and Renault on June 8, Peugeot was also indicted for “fraud” in France in the investigation into the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, thus unlocking a file that has been stagnant for years and that could lead to the accusation of Citroën and Fiat-Chrysler.

Stellantis, parent company of Peugeot, announced the indictment of its subsidiary “for accusations of fraud on the sale of Euro 5 diesel vehicles that took place in France between 2009 and 2015”.

“Our subsidiaries firmly believe that their emission control systems met all applicable requirements at the time and continue to meet them today, and they eagerly await the opportunity to demonstrate this,” the group said in a statement.

A judicial source confirmed the indictment of Peugeot on the charge of “fraud that entails a danger to human or animal health.” Meanwhile, a report from the Directorate General for Competition, Consumption and Repression of Fraud (DGCCRF), transmitted to the courts in February 2017, mentioned a “global strategy aimed at manufacturing fraudulent engines, and then marketing them.”

According to the investigators, PSA (Peugeot-Citroën) sold between September 2009 and September 2015 in France about 1.9 million Euro5 generation diesel vehicles (standard in force until 2015), “whose engine works according to fraudulent strategies”.

Given the violations observed, the DGCCRF calculated that the company incurred a maximum fine of 5,000 million euros, which is equivalent to 6,000 million dollars.

Citroën and Fiat?

In France, the DGCCRF investigations also revealed the “deliberate nature of the fraud” at Volkswagen. They claim that the German group sold almost 950,000 diesel vehicles, equipped with the fraudulent device, on French territory. Volkswagen has already challenged the magistrates’ analysis.

In addition to being charged, all these companies are subject to judicial control accompanied by large guarantees for the eventual payment of damages and fines: of up to 24 million dollars for Renault, and strong bank guarantees to compensate for possible damages and up to 73 million of dollars for Renault and Volkswagen.

“All the elements seem to confirm the infringements committed by the different manufacturers. The owners of the damaged vehicles do not understand that a trial is not held as soon as possible,” said François Lafforgue, drowned by the Ecologie sans frontières and ‘Respire associations.

The “dieselgate” scandal is the subject of various legal reports in France. Investigations into this scandal have long been held back by a legal battle before the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

On Tuesday, Renault was the first to announce that it had been charged. On the list are several possible additional targets: Citroën, then Fiat-Chrysler, also belonging to the Stellantis group. The imputation is a preliminary step for possible prosecution in France.

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