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Jul 21, 2017

Volkswagen ordered to pay US$300 million in legal fees over emissions scandal

A Volkswagen logo is pictured at the Volkswagen factory in Wrzesnia, Poland

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WASHINGTON -- A federal judge on Friday approved US$125 million in fees and costs for lawyers who sued Volkswagen AG (VLKAY.PK) on behalf of U.S. owners of 88,000 3.0 litre diesel vehicles over excess emissions.

That is on top of US$175 million in fees and costs approved by U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer in March for a related 2.0-liter VW diesel settlement covering nearly 500,000 owners.

In the 3.0-litre settlement approved on Friday, Breyer said lawyers were billing an average of US$462 an hour for all work performed and expected during the settlement. He said billing rates for partners were from US$250 to US$1,650 per hour.

Breyer said lawyers for the owners "achieved extraordinary results" and cited the generous buyback and compensation offers as well as separate funds to offset excess emissions.

In total, the world's largest automaker has agreed to spend up to US$25 billion in the United States to address claims from owners, environmental regulators, states and dealers and offered to buy back about 500,000 polluting U.S. vehicles.

Of the US$300 million approved in both cases, US$288 million is for legal fees and US$12 million is for reimbursable expenses.