WASHINGTON, Sept 28 (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler will
pay a $9.5 million civil penalty to settle allegations it misled
investors by not disclosing that it conducted only a limited
internal review of its compliance with emissions regulations,
the top U.S. securities regulator said on Monday.
Fiat Chrysler, which did not admit or deny wrongdoing to
resolve the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) probe,
declined to comment on the fine that stems from the automaker's
diesel emissions scandal.
The Italian-American automaker in January 2019 agreed to a
settlement worth about $800 million to resolve claims from the
U.S. Justice Department and California Air Resources Board
(CARB) that it used illegal software that produced false results
on diesel-emissions tests.
The SEC said in February 2016 that Fiat Chrysler said it
conducted an internal audit that confirmed its vehicles complied
with emissions regulations but did not sufficiently disclose the
limited scope of its internal audit. At the time, engineers at
the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and CARB had
raised concerns to Fiat Chrysler about the emissions systems in
some diesel vehicles.
Regulators in 2019 said Fiat Chrysler used defeat devices
to cheat emissions tests in real-world driving.
The U.S. government has stepped-up enforcement of vehicle
emissions rules after Volkswagen AG admitted in
September 2015 to intentionally evading emissions rules and has
now incurred more than $30 billion in penalties and other costs.
"At a time of heightened scrutiny of automakers regulatory
compliance, (Fiat Chrysler) provided misleading assurances to
investors by not disclosing the limitations of its internal
audit," Joel R. Levin, regional director of the SECs Chicago
office, said in a statement.
Fiat Chrysler said in July it was in talks to resolve an
ongoing Justice Department criminal probe into the excess diesel
(Reporting by David Shepardson and Lisa Lambert; Editing by
Sandra Maler and David Gregorio)