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Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

07 December 2017, 05:09 | Melvin Schneider

Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

Volkswagen executive gets 7 years in prison for emissions scandal

A federal judge sentenced a former Volkswagen executive to 7 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a massive emissions-cheating scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, a German national who was the general manager in charge of VW's environmental and engineering office in MI, had pleaded guilty to his part in the cover-up and argued he was "misused" by VW in its attempts to circumvent U.S. emissions tests.

"It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States", US District Judge Sean Cox of Detroit told Schmidt in court.

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Schmidt read a written statement in court acknowledging his guilt and broke down when discussing his family's sacrifices on his behalf since his arrest in January. Although six other VW Group executives have been indicted, none are in U.S. custody.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties on top of billions more to buy back cars. But Singer noted that Schmidt still purposely "lied and deceived".

"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.

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Volkswagen rebounded from the scandal during the past year.

Schmidt said he had only himself to blame and that his loyalty to Volkswagen allowed him to be "misused" by the company.

At the Los Angeles auto show last week, the head of Volkswagen's USA operations declared, "we're back", citing improved USA vehicle sales.

Oliver Schmidt, the second and most senior employee of the German automaker to plead guilty in the emissions cheating scandal, is among seven current and former VW executives that U.S. prosecutors have charged so far.

Although the initial stages of the scheme to goose emissions numbers started as early as 2004 at Audi, Schmidt and his lawyers assert that the executive only found out about the software in the summer of 2015, a few months before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made public VW Group's violation.

The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count. According to Schmidt's guilty plea, later that year he conspired with other executives to avoid disclosing "intentional cheating" by the automaker in a bid to seek regulatory approval for its model 2016 VW 2 liter diesels.

The diesel vehicles were programmed to trigger certain pollution results only during testing, not during regular road use.



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