Volkswagen Dieselgate executive jailed for seven years
08 December, 2017, 02:06 | Author: Lora Ball
In a letter addressed to Judge Sean F. Cox from the Federal District Court of Detroit, he wrote that "A script, or talking points, I was directed to follow for that meeting was approved by management level supervisors at VW, including a high-ranking in-house lawyer".
In Dieselgate, VW was found to have been cheating the emissions tests. He had pleaded guilty in August to charges he conspired to commit fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act. "It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States", Cox told Schmidt in court. Schmidt was also ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000, according to a US Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. The government said he later misled investigators and destroyed key documents.
Liang and Schmidt are among eight VW executives criminally charged for their alleged roles in the scheme. Both the jail term and the fine were at the top end of sentencing guidelines.
The scandal has cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in fines and settlements.
Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January. They installed hidden software to hide that many of their cars weren't meeting emissions standards.
Schmidt traveled to the USA as the scandal was breaking on a mission to lie to U.S. and Californian authorities so Volkswagen could obtain regulatory approvals to sell 2016 model year diesel vehicles in the United States, according to prosecutors. As VW Group rolled out its massive "clean diesel" marketing campaign appealing to environmentally conscious vehicle buyers, those same cars were actually emitting nitrogen oxide (NOx) many times in excess of the legal limit.
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