Australia watchdog warns large fines the norm after Volkswagen case

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – The head of Australia’s competition regulator on Friday said a record fine of A$125 million ($86 million) imposed on Volkswagen AG (DE:) was just a taste of what companies could expect in the future.

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Chair Rod Sims told reporters the agency would be using its new expanded powers to punish illegal activity with the largest fines possible.

“Companies can expect the ACCC to be seeking much higher penalties in future,” said Sims. “We are going to see penalties of way over A$100 million as the norm.”

“It is a penalty that also sends a very clear message to corporate Australia not to breach the law.”

Earlier, a federal court penalized Volkswagen for allegedly making false representations about compliance with the country’s diesel emission standards.

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