One of the largest fines ever handed down in Germany

Germany has fined the Volkswagen Group €1 billion ($1.5 billion) for cheating its way past emissions bench tests, as part of the long-running Dieselgate

The fine was imposed by the Braunschweig (a city in Lower Saxony, Germany) public prosecutor, which is investigating the Volkswagen Group over the (seemingly never-ending) Dieselgate saga.

In a prepared statement, Volkswagen says it "accepts the fine and, by doing so, admits its responsibility"in the cheating, and believes the penalty is a "further major step towards the [crisis] being overcome".

The fine relates to the "impermissible software function" fitted to the EA288 Gen3 diesel engine sold in the USA and Canada, and EA189 diesel motor sold throughout the world. From mid-2007 to late-2015, around 10.7 million vehicles were fitted with a defeat device, which could detect bench testing and appropriately limit emissions output.

Reuters understands the Volkswagen Group didn't budget for this fine when it set aside €25.8 billion ($39.8 billion) to deal with Dieselgate-related fines, fixes, payouts and penalties.

Although this fine closes off a regulatory proceeding against Volkswagen, the company is still open to civil claims from owners, and the Munich public prosecutor's office investigation into emissions cheating continues unabated.

Earlier this week, the Munich prosecutor officially confirmed it is investigating Rupert Stadler, Audi CEO, for fraud, misleading advertising, and prior knowledge of the company's various emissions testing cheat devices.

According to Reuters, apartments belonging to Stadler and one other board member were searched at the beginning of the week.