(Bloomberg) -- Volkswagen AG shouldn’t be punished twice by different European Union states for the same offenses linked to the Dieselgate scandal, an adviser to the European Union’s top court said.

If VW was punished in Germany, Italy’s competition authority shouldn’t be able to impose another one for unfair commercial practices because that “infringes, in principle, the right not to be tried or punished twice for the same offense,” according to a summary of a non-binding opinion by Advocate General Manuel Campos Sánchez-Bordona of the EU Court of Justice.

VW has been engulfed in disputes with drivers who want their money back for the loss in value of their diesel cars because of the software manipulation exposed by U.S. regulator in September 2015. The EU’s top court has issued a series of rulings, including a key decision in 2020 saying that the use of defeat devices, which helped the automaker bypass diesel engine pollution tests, can’t be justified under the bloc’s rules. 

VW said in a statement that the opinion backs its view and that it’s confident the court’s final ruling will do the same.

The company “has been comprehensively and conclusively sanctioned for the misconduct of its employees in connection with the diesel issue” and that’s why “further punishment” in other countries over the same issue “is no longer permissible under European law,” it said.

The case is: C-27/22, Volkswagen Group Italia and Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft.


--With assistance from Karin Matussek.

©2023 Bloomberg L.P.