"While this announcement is an important step forward in achieving justice for the American people, let me be clear, it is by no means the last," Yates said. "The settlements do not address any potential criminal liability, although I can assure you that our criminal investigation remains active and ongoing."
Yates said the criminal probe would target any companies or individuals involved in the scheme in which diesel cars were rigged with software to defeat pollution monitoring tests, while allowing cars to emit up to 40 times allowed levels of pollution.
About $2.7 billion will pay for pollution reduction programs to offset environmental damage and another $2 billion to pay for research on vehicles that produce zero harmful emissions, Yates added.
The agreement applies to vehicles equipped with 2.0-liter diesel engines from 2009 to 2015. Volkswagen could also face additional penalties if 3.0-liter diesels are found to have similar rigged software, according to Yates.