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Manufacturers lose US$100 million

WASHINGTON, DC: Automakers Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay US$100 million to resolve alleged violations of the U.S. Clean Air Act. The Department of Justice says the companies claimed the total emissions from 1.2 million vehicles were 4.75 million tonnes less than they actually produced.

Hyundai and Kia overstated the fuel economy by one to six miles per gallon on 2012 and 2013 model years of the Hyundai Accent, Elantra, Veloster and Santa Fe and the Kia Rio and Soul vehicles.

KleptocracyAs a result the two companies will also forfeit US$200 million in emission credits and spend a further US$50 million to prevent any future violations. The credits are equal to the emissions from more than 433,000 homes a year.

"This unprecedented resolution with Hyundai and Kia underscores the Justice Department's firm commitment to safeguarding American consumers, ensuring fairness in every marketplace, protecting the environment, and relentlessly pursuing companies that make misrepresentations and violate the law," commented retiring U.S. attorney general Eric Holder.

"Greenhouse gas emission laws protect the public from the dangers of climate change, and today's action reinforces EPA's commitment to see those laws through," added EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "Businesses that play by the rules shouldn't have to compete with those breaking the law."

In an unrelated case, the DoJ has now recovered over US$100,000 from Chad's former ambassador to the U.S. and Canada, Mahamoud Adam Bechir (right), following an admission by Canadian energy company Griffiths Energy International that it paid him US$2 million to secure oil drilling rights in Chad.

Bechir, who served as ambassador to the two countries between 2004 and 2012 and now represents Chad in South Africa, allegedly combined the bribe with other funds and laundered it through U.S. bank accounts before transferring a total of over US$1.47 million to South Africa. The DoJ says it has now seized the money and is seeking further assets from Bechir and his wife Nouracham Niam. The DoJ case was brought under the U.S. 'Kleptocracy Asset Recovery Initiative' designed to forfeit the proceeds of foreign official corruption.

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