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A worker lifts the hood to inspect the engine bay of a completed Volkswagen AG Caddy van during quality control checks at the end of the production line at VW plant in Poznan, Poland, on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Volkswagen's struggles mark a stark contrast to a buoyant recovery in Europe's auto market.
A worker lifts the hood to inspect the engine bay of a completed Volkswagen AG Caddy van during quality control checks at the end of the production line at VW plant in Poznan, Poland, on Wednesday, Dec. 22, 2015. Volkswagen's struggles mark a stark contrast to a buoyant recovery in Europe's auto market.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday filed a civil suit against Volkswagen AG for allegedly violating the Clean Air Act by installing illegal devices to impair emission control systems in 600,000 vehicles.

The allegations in the lawsuit carry penalties that could cost Volkswagen billions of dollars, a senior Justice Department official said.

“The United States will pursue all appropriate remedies against Volkswagen to redress the violations of our nation’s clean air laws,” said Assistant Attorney General John Cruden, head of the departments environment and natural resources division.

The lawsuit will be filed in the Eastern District of Michigan and then transferred to Northern California, where class-action lawsuits against Volkswagen are pending.

It does not preclude the Justice Department from pursuing criminal charges against Volkswagen, said a senior Justice Department official.

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Advertiser Disclosure

The purpose of this disclosure is to explain how we make money without charging you for our content.

Our mission is to help people at any stage of life make smart financial decisions through research, reporting, reviews, recommendations, and tools.

Earning your trust is essential to our success, and we believe transparency is critical to creating that trust. To that end, you should know that many or all of the companies featured here are partners who advertise with us.

Our content is free because our partners pay us a referral fee if you click on links or call any of the phone numbers on our site. If you choose to interact with the content on our site, we will likely receive compensation. If you don't, we will not be compensated. Ultimately the choice is yours.

Opinions are our own and our editors and staff writers are instructed to maintain editorial integrity, but compensation along with in-depth research will determine where, how, and in what order they appear on the page.

To find out more about our editorial process and how we make money, click here.

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