U.S indicts two more Fiat Chrysler managers in diesel emissions probe

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FILE PHOTO: Stellantis debuts on Milan and Paris stock exchanges

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Justice Department on Tuesday said two Fiat Chrysler senior managers in Italy had been indicted in the ongoing probe into diesel emissions cheating at the Italian-American automaker.

In January 2019 Fiat Chrysler agreed to an $800 million settlement to resolve civil claims that it used illegal software that produced false results on diesel-emissions tests in more than 100,000 U.S. vehicles. The Justice Department’s criminal investigation into the company, which has since changed its name to Stellantis NV, is pending.

Stellantis said in a statement it continues “to fully cooperate with the Department of Justice, as we have throughout this issue.”

Sergio Pasini, 43, of Ferrera, Italy, and Gianluca Sabbioni, 55, of Sala Bolognese, Italy, two senior diesel managers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles Italy, were indicted in March along with Emanuele Palma, 42, of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, who was previously charged. The new indictment was unsealed Tuesday.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office on Detroit said Pasini and Sabbioni were not in custody.

Palma was charged in September 2019 with making and causing Fiat Chrysler to make misstatements to U.S. regulators about diesel engines’ emission control systems.

Palma, an Italian citizen and auto engineer, is set to go trial in October.

U.S. officials embarked on a wide-ranging investigation into diesel emissions cheating in the auto industry after September 2015, when Volkswagen AG admitted to using secret software to evade emissions rules.

In October, Fiat Chrysler recognized a new 222 million euro ($267 million) provision to settle matters primarily related to the DOJ’s ongoing criminal probe into diesel emissions.

Fiat Chrysler said then that settlement talks were ongoing and it was not clear if an agreement would be reached. In September, it agreed separately to pay $9.5 million to settle U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission allegations that it misled investors over emissions regulations compliance.

(Reporting by David Shepardson; additional reporting by Giulio PiovaccariEditing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

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