BERLIN (Reuters) -- Volkswagen is not doing itself any favors by offering unequal compensation to U.S. and European customers affected by the automaker's emissions cheating scandal, a German justice ministry spokesman said.
"This unequal treatment cannot be in the interest of VW," the spokesman said during a news conference on Friday.
Last Tuesday, European Industry Commissioner Elzbieta Bienkowska demanded in a letter to VW's CEO that U.S. and European customers be compensated in the same way after the company's emissions scandal.
Volkswagen said last Thursday there were no grounds to replicate in Europe a compensation program it plans for U.S. drivers. VW has admitted that up to 11 million diesel models sold worldwide may have manipulated software. About 8.5 million are in Europe.
Meanwhile, hundreds of lawsuits are pending in the U.S. over the scandal and several criminal investigations have been under way in the U.S. and abroad.
On Thursday, a U.S. court appointed Elizabeth Cabraser as plaintiffs' lead counsel to conduct and coordinate the multi-district litigation over civil lawsuits filed against Volkswagen, according to a court filing on Thursday.
Cabraser would also lead the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee to hear cases pertaining to Volkswagen's usage of software to evade emissions limits, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District Of California said.
Earlier in December, Volkswagen and the U.S. Department of Justice had both urged the U.S. Judicial Panel on multi-district litigation to send the cases to Detroit, but were ultimately assigned the Northern District of California in San Francisco, where the first Volkswagen case in the country was filed.
The court said it has appointed 21 attorneys to the steering committee in addition to Cabraser for speedy resolution and has also appointed Van Eaton as the government coordinating counsel.