German prosecutors fine Daimler almost $1 billion for breaking diesel rules

BERLIN (Reuters) - Daimler DAIGn.DE will pay a fine of 870 million euros ($957 million) for breaking diesel emissions regulations, German prosecutors said on Tuesday.

FILE PHOTO: The Daimler logo is seen before the Daimler annual shareholder meeting in Berlin, Germany, April 5, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

The maker of Mercedes-Benz cars said it would not appeal against the penalty and that it was keeping its earnings forecast unchanged.

The fine ends some of the legal uncertainty surrounding the Stuttgart-based company.

Prosecutors and regulators around the world have been investigating carmakers since Volkswagen’s admission in 2015 that it cheated U.S. diesel pollution tests, which led to revelations of rule breaches by a number of manufacturers.

Separately on Tuesday, German prosecutors indicted top managers at Volkswagen VOWG_p.DE, saying they delayed telling investors about the company's wrongdoing.

Stuttgart prosecutors said the fine on Daimler had no impact on ongoing proceedings into alleged manipulation by some individuals of engine software used in some Daimler diesel cars.

The prosecutors’ office said Daimler had negligently violated its supervisory duties starting in 2008. As a result, certain diesel vehicles were certified despite exceeding emissions thresholds in some cases, it added.

“It is in the company’s best interest to end the administrative offence proceeding in a timely and comprehensive manner and thereby conclude this matter,” Daimler said, confirming it would not appeal.

Shares in the company were down 0.7% at 1330 GMT.

In May 2017, German prosecutors searched Daimler offices as part of a fraud inquiry related to possible manipulation of exhaust gas after-treatment in diesel cars.

Daimler also faces regulatory scrutiny by U.S. authorities. In February 2016, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency asked Mercedes-Benz to explain emissions levels in some of its diesel cars.

In June this year, Daimler cut its 2019 earnings outlook after lifting provisions for issues related to its diesel vehicles by hundreds of millions of euros.

Reporting by Thomas Seythal; Editing by Madeline Chambers and Mark Potter