By Tom Schoenberg and Alan Katz, Bloomberg News

The Justice Department sued Volkswagen AG, accusing the German automaker of installing illegal devices meant to defeat emissions testing on nearly 600,000 vehicles.

The complaint filed Monday in federal court in Detroit is the first case against the company brought by the Justice Department, which is also investigating the car maker for possible criminal conduct related to the devices.

“Car manufacturers that fail to properly certify their cars and that defeat emission control systems breach the public trust, endanger public health and disadvantage competitors,” Assistant Attorney General John Cruden said in a statement.

The Environmental Protection Agency, which in September announced Volkswagen violated federal law by using defeat devices in diesel engine vehicles, said that recall discussions with the company hadn’t been resolved.

In addition to Volkswagen, the lawsuit also names company units Audi AG, Porsche AG and Porsche Cars North America as defendants.

The U.S. said the violations involved car models from 2009 to 2016 including some Volkswagen Jettas, Golfs and Passats, as well as the Audi A6 and A7 Quattro.

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