South Korea has tossed out Volkswagen's recall plans and is preparing to level criminal charges over its handling of the diesel emissions catastrophe, The Wall Street Journal reports.

"Recall plans the company submitted to us earlier this month were insufficient and lacked key information, and thus are unacceptable," the South Korean Ministry of Environment said in a statement obtained by the WSJ. A ministry official hinted at the possibility of criminal charges earlier this month if VW's recall plan wasn't satisfactory, the Yonhap News Agency reports, and now it looks like it will actually follow through.

According to the WSJ, South Korea has already ordered VW to recall 125,000 vehicles and slapped the automaker with a $12.3 million fine – one of the many countries to do so – but if it follows through with criminal charges against the company or its employees, it'd be among the earliest to so. Other countries, including the United States, are still exploring the possibility of criminal charges.

Charges would likely come against both Audi Volkswagen Korea and its managing director, Johannes Thammer. It's not clear what the actual charge would be, but the WSJ claims Thammer could be facing up to five years in prison and a fine of 30 million won (around $24,700 at today's rates). For its part, VW officials in South Korea maintains that it is "doing its utmost to resolve the emissions issue" and that it plans to "offer further explanation" to authorities regarding its proposal for an emissions and fuel mileage fix in that country.

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