By David Shepardson and Andreas Cremer
(Reuters) - Volkswagen AG has agreed to a $4.3 billion settlement to resolve the U.S. government's civil and criminal investigations into the German automaker's diesel emissions cheating, two sources briefed on the matter said Wednesday.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy will announce the settlement in Washington on Wednesday at a news conference, the government said in a statement.
Reuters has learned that prosecutors may charge additional individuals with criminal conduct as early as today, the sources said.
On Monday, a VW executive, the second VW employee charged by U.S. prosecutors, was accused of conspiracy to defraud the United States over the company's emissions cheating and the automaker was charged with concealing the cheating from regulators.
The world's second largest automaker confirmed Tuesday it has negotiated a $4.3-billion concrete draft settlement with U.S. regulators to resolve its diesel emissions issues and plans to plead guilty to criminal misconduct as part of the civil and criminal settlement.
The settlement doesn't impact the government's ongoing investigation into individual misconduct by current and former VW employees.
Volkswagen had previously agreed to spend up to $17.5 billion in the United States to resolve claims by U.S. regulators, owners and dealers and offered to buy back nearly 500,000 polluting vehicles. The automaker was in intensive talks with regulators in recent weeks in an effort to reach a deal before the end of the Obama administration.
Without a deal by next week, a final resolution could have been delayed by months until the Trump EPA and Justice Department teams are in place.
VW admitted in September 2015 to installing secret software in hundreds of thousands of U.S. diesel cars to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them appear cleaner than they were on the road, and that as many as 11 million vehicles could have similar software installed worldwide.
Much of the company's senior management departed following the scandal, including chief executive Martin Winterkorn.