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Justice Department Could Target Volkswagen Execs Next After Emissions Scandal

WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 10:  Hans Dieter Poetsch (L), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, and  Volkswagen Group Chairman Matthias Mueller (R), arrive to the press conference to announce the latest update in the company's handling of the engine emissions scandal on December 10, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is continuing to grapple with the consequences after it admitted installing software that cheats during emissions tests into 11 million of its diesel cars sold worldwide.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)WOLFSBURG, GERMANY - DECEMBER 10:  Hans Dieter Poetsch (L), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, and  Volkswagen Group Chairman Matthias Mueller (R), arrive to the press conference to announce the latest update in the company's handling of the engine emissions scandal on December 10, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Volkswagen is continuing to grapple with the consequences after it admitted installing software that cheats during emissions tests into 11 million of its diesel cars sold worldwide.  (Photo by Carsten Koall/Getty Images)
Hans Dieter Poetsch (L), Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Volkswagen AG, and Volkswagen Group Chairman Matthias Mueller (R), arrive to the press conference to announce the latest update in the company's handling of the engine emissions scandal on December 10, 2015 in Wolfsburg, Germany. Photograph by Carsten Koall—Getty Images

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said on Tuesday that it was important for the Justice Department to look at individuals in the ongoing criminal investigation into the Volkswagen (VLKAY) emissions scandal.

Asked whether she would like to see company executives held accountable for the company’s wrongdoing, Lynch told Reuters: “What’s important for us in every case, including this case, is to look at those individuals and see what if anything will be resolved with regards to them.”

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Under a settlement announced on Tuesday, the German automaker will pay as much as $15.3 billion after admitting it cheated on U.S. diesel emissions tests for years, agreeing to buy back vehicles from consumers and provide funding that could benefit makers of cleaner technologies.

Lynch said U.S. justice officials will be looking at everyone involved in the making of VW decisions in the emissions scandal.

“Certainly it relates to every case, that when it comes to corporate wrongdoing whether it is civil or criminal, that the Department of Justice will be looking at everyone who was involved in making those decisions and in implementing the actions that led to the liability that we have found,” she said in an interview in Phoenix.

For more, read: How Volkswagen Owners Can Get Compensation From the Emissions Scandal Settlement

VW admitted in September that it installed secret software that allowed U.S. vehicles to emit up to 40 times legally allowable pollution.