(UPDATE: Updates the story throughout, including penalty figures. Volkswagen comment.)
The Justice Department on Monday filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Volkswagen for illegally selling emissions-cheating cars in the U.S. from 2009 until last year and said the automaker withheld information about its 3-liter diesel engine’s “defeat device” after investigators uncovered the scandal.
The lawsuit, filed in eastern Michigan court, seeks more than $40 billion in damages from the automaker.
In announcing the lawsuit, officials from the Environmental Protection Agency signaled that regulators and officials may be at a standstill with Volkswagen regarding how it intends to fix its cars in the U.S.
“So far, recall discussions with the company have not produced an acceptable way forward. These discussions will continue in parallel with the federal court action,” Cynthia Giles, assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance assurance at EPA, said in a statement.