Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
Finance | By Loren Pratt

VW Exec Gets 7 Years In Jail For Role In Emissions Scandal

VW Exec Gets 7 Years In Jail For Role In Emissions Scandal

Volkswagen senior manager Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in a USA prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles.

The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count. He pleaded guilty in August to charges that included defrauding the United States and violating the Clean Air Act. "Corporations and individuals acting on behalf of corporations will be brought to justice for harming our environment".

Prosecutors say Schmidt, a German national, lied to US environmental authorities, lied to investigators and encouraged others at VW to destroy arguments.

Volkswagen Group, the umbrella company that owns VW, Audi, and Porsche, has paid about $30 billion in fines and buyback costs since regulators discovered it was including emissions-cheating software on its diesel vehicles.

Federal courts have ordered Volkswagen to spend more than $1 billion to buy back or fix the affected cars. Schmidt's plea deal stated that the former executive could face up to seven years in prison and between $40,000 and $400,000 in fines.

"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said. That's the sentence that prosecutors recommended.

Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January. Although six other VW Group executives have been indicted, none are in United States custody.

A study published in May found that excess nitrogen oxide from improperly configured diesel vehicles had contributed to about 38,000 premature deaths worldwide in 2015.

Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme.

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.

"The defendant has a leadership role within VW", federal officials said.

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