VW, GM and Takata: the Case for Jailing Corporate Executives
Date Written: 02/02/2016
Year Published: 2016
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX18869
Making the case that executives at VW, Takata and General Motors should be jailed for corporate crime. The crimes committed by the corporations they head are extremely serious, and have caused and will cause hundreds of deaths. Why are the perpetrators allowed to get off simply by writing a cheque to cover the fine, instead of going to jail the way other criminals do?
"This is one of the most egregious corporate crimes I have ever seen," Ditlow said on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour last week. "When the Environmental Protection Agency set tough new standards for diesel engines, Volkswagen quickly discovered that its technology wouldn't meet the new standards. But, what they did is, instead of sending their engineers to work, designing a new system to clean up the diesel, they sent their engineers to work developing a computer program that would instruct the diesel engine to only work the emission controls during the test procedure. And, when the diesel is out in the real world on the highway, to turn off the emission controls. So, in order to do this you have to have engineers who deliberately programmed into the computer system a cheat device, which would turn off the emission controls. Clear knowledge. Clear intent. And they got caught."
Ditlow said that "in the U.S. there are nearly 500,000 of these diesels with the cheat devices on them."
"Across the world there are many millions, as many as 11 million vehicles in every country, polluting the atmosphere, causing adverse health effects. And, one study here in the U.S. said that there be as many as 60 deaths due to this corporate crime by Volkswagen."
"I mean, were not talking about a petty crime here. What were talking about is a gross corporate crime. These diesels emit up to 40 times the amount of emissions that they are allowed to. And, it's very fine particulates that are coming out of the diesel. Its nitrogen oxides. And, its going into the lungs of individuals, and if youre particularly sensitive you are quite likely to suffer disease and illness and ultimately death."