VW exec sentenced to seven years over diesel emissions scandal
A Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in prison Wednesday and fined $ 400,000 for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on U.S. diesel vehicles.
Oliver Schmidt, a 48-year-old German citizen who led VW’s engineering and environmental office in Michigan, was sentenced for conspiring to defraud the federal government and violating the Clean Air Act.
Schmidt, who could have faced a maximum of 169 years in prison for 11 federal counts before he reached a plea deal, agreed to be deported at the end of his sentence.
On Wednesday, the U.S. District Judge Sean Cox in Detroit, Mich., called Schmidt a “key conspirator” for destroying documents, misleading authorities and failing to disclose secret software that fooled authorities into believing Volkswagen cars were meeting emissions rules.
The vehicles, marketed as “clean diesel” cars, were programmed in a decade-long scheme to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use.
“I’m sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine — to climb the corporate ladder at VW,” Cox said. “Your goal was to impress senior management.”
Schmidt is the highest-ranking Volkswagen employee to be convicted for the scheme in the U.S.,
said, “For the disruption of my life, I only have to blame myself. … I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed.”
He has been in custody without bond since he was arrested in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation.
The Volkswagen scandal has cost the company more than $ 20 billion in fines since the diesel emissions scandal first emerged in 2015.
With News Wire Services.
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