In a letter to the US federal judge who will sentence him on Wednesday, former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt wrote "I must say that I feel misused by my own company in the diesel scandal or 'Dieselgate'. "
Schmidt is one of the most senior executives to be charged in the diesel emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen Group in late 2015. The scandal broke when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) VW Group of illegally installed software on its diesel vehicles that would suppress the emissions control system while the car was being driven under normal driving conditions, giving the cars better performance.
Schmidt, who was 48 at the time of his arrest Volkswagen cars sold in the US during the years VW pushed its "clean diesel" vehicles with emissions-defeating software. In the aftermath of the scandal, Schmidt left VW and returned to Germany, but he was arrested in January while on vacation in Miami. In August, the executive pleaded guilty to two charges: conspiracy to defraud the US government and violate the Clean Air Act, and making a false statement under the Clean Air Act.
The plea agreement that Schmidt could be sentenced to up seven years in prison and face a fine between $ 40,000 and $ 400,000. He also said that his client had a "relatively limited role and brief involvement in."
In a document filed (PDF) with the US District Court in Detroit on Friday, Schmidt what have you admitted is a very serious conspiracy developed and carried out over many years without your knowledge or involvement. " The lawyers suggested that Schmidt is sentenced to 40 months of supervised release and a $ 100,000 fine.
Schmidt's letter to the judge this weekend was not filed publicly, but was reported by the German paper Bild Am Sontag ] According to Reuters, Schmidt "said he had agreed to follow script, or talked points, agreed by Volkswagen management and a high-ranking lawyer, at a meeting with Alberto Ayala, to California Air Resources Executive Board."
Schmidt reportedly wrote, "In hindsight, I should never have agreed to meet with Dr. Ayala on that day. Or better yet, I should have gone to that meeting and ignored the instructions given to me and told Dr. Ayala that there is a defeat device in the VW diesel engine and that VW had been cheating for almost a decade. I did not do that and that is why I find myself here today. "
Schmidt is scheduled for December 6. Thus, only one other VW engineer has been sentenced in the US in connection with the scandal. James Liang, who was Volkswagen's Leader of Diesel Competence in California, was sentenced to 40 months in prison and two years of supervised release in August. Volkswagen Group itself pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the US earlier this year, and you've paid around $ 30 billions in late.