SEOUL, Sept. 3 (Korea Bizwire) — A Seoul appeals court sharply reduced the fine for Audi Volkswagen Korea (AVK) on Friday after clearing the company of much of the charges in its diesel emissions scandal.
The Seoul High Court ordered the South Korean unit of the German carmaker to pay a 1.1 billion won (US$950,800) fine, revising a lower court ruling that slapped a 26 billion won fine.
The court also commuted the sentence for Park Dong-hoon, former chief executive of AVK, from two years in prison to an eight-month suspended term. He has not been detained.
AVK was indicted in January 2017 after its imported cars were found to be fitted with defeat devices that fool government emissions tests.
In February 2020, a lower court in Seoul ruled the company violated laws on pollution, customs and advertising in connection with about 120,000 diesel vehicles in 15 models it imported from 2008 to 2015.
The appellate court overturned the decision, saying it is difficult to view that the prosecution’s evidence fully proved Park and company officials knew of the manipulation.
The court also rejected the previous guilty verdict on charges of importing about 41,000 vehicles without the government’s certification on emissions and noise or replacing their parts after such tests.
The court said only product numbers of the parts appear to have been changed.
But the court upheld the lower court’s ruling that convicted the company of doctoring 149 documents related to emissions and noise tests for vehicles imported from 2010 to 2015.
A former AVK executive, surnamed Yoon, in charge of emissions approval, was sentenced to 1 1/2 years in prison, heavier than the previous one-year term, after he was found guilty of additional charges. The court did not order his detention.