Dieselgate is one step closer to being over, at least in the US court system.
Volkswagen pleaded guilty Friday to multiple criminal charges stemming from its diesel scandal, Reuters reports. It pleaded guilty to fraud, obstruction of justice and falsifying statements. Manfred Doess, VW's general counsel, made the plea after receiving authorization from the board to do so.
It marks the first time VW admitted guilt in any court in the world, according to a VW spokesman speaking to Reuters. The judge overseeing the case in the US District Court in Detroit accepted the plea and will issue a sentence at a hearing on April 21.
"The agreements that we have reached with the US government reflect our determination to address misconduct that went against all of the values Volkswagen holds so dear," Volkswagen said in an emailed statement. "The plea today is another important step forward for our company and all our employees, and we look forward to concluding this matter at the next hearing on April 21, 2017."
Volkswagen ended up in hot water in 2015, after it admitted to willfully deceiving regulators around the world. Software in some of its diesel vehicles could identify lab testing environments and curb pollution, only to emit well in excess of legal limits once out on the road.
After admitting to its malfeasance, Volkswagen promised a mixture of reforms and audits, which included independent oversight for three years. Executives stepped down, and the company has settled with owners and regulators at the cost of tens of billions of dollars.
The road to Dieselgate's conclusion still has plenty of pavement, though. The company is still under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Internal Revenue Service. And that's in the US alone -- these cars were shipped worldwide, so the automaker must deal with governments and customers around the world.