The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has closed its investigation into the Mercedes-Benz diesel emissions scandal, German newspaper Handelsblatt and other news agencies report.

The closure of the investigation means the automaker is no longer facing charges.

Mercedes-Benz disclosed the news to Handelsblatt, with Renata Jungo Brüngger, the car maker’s legal director saying the firm had received a letter informing them that criminal investigations in relation to diesel emissions had been “discontinued.”

Ms Jungo Brüngger said: “This is very positive news for Mercedes-Benz, for all employees and shareholders. […] We are taking another big step towards greater legal certainty.”

In an emailed statement to news agency Reuters, she said that the firm had “cooperated fully” with the DOJ.

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In 2016, the DOJ ordered Mercedes-Benz to conduct an internal investigation into possible manipulated emissions.

Four years later, it was reported Mercedes could be forced to recall up to 500,000 vehicles in the UK over claims of a new ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal. Over 10,000 British vehicle owners signed up to join a possible legal case against the automaker.

The closure of the DOJ’s investigation comes as auto supplier Continental recently accepted a €100 million fine handed out by the public prosecutor’s office in Hanover, Germany, in relation to “negligent breach of supervisory duties in connection with the supply of engine control units and engine control unit software.”

In 2018, Germany fined Volkswagen €EUR1bn (US$1.18bn) over diesel emissions cheating, in what was one of the highest ever fines imposed by German authorities against a company.