Dec. 20 (UPI) -- Australia's Federal Court ordered Volkswagen Friday to pay an $86 million fine over false representations in complying with diesel emission standards.
The German automaker was found in to have deliberately distorted emissions reports with "two mode" software prepared for vehicles undergoing testing. The existence of the software was not disclosed to the government when Volkswagen imported 57,000 vehicles between 2011 and 2015 to Australia, the court said.
"Volkswagen's conduct was blatant and deliberate," Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, said in a statement. "Essentially, Volkswagen's software made its diesel cars, [utility vehicles] and vans operate in two modes. One that was designed to test well and another that operated when the vehicle was actually being used and which produced higher emissions.
"This was concealed from Australian regulators and the tens of thousands of Australian consumers driving these vehicles."
The company is embroiled in lawsuits and government investigations around the world for its role in "Dieselgate," which has already cost Volkswagen over $43 billion. Several Volkswagen executives have been indicted by German courts.
The penalty, which Volkswagen can appeal, is the highest ever demanded by an Australian watchdog agency. The court order was made against Volkswagen AG, the German company. The ACCC's case against Audi subsidiaries in Australia were dropped as a part of the order.