A compliance executive of Volkswagen AG who pleaded guilty in the US UU For his role in the company's $ 30 billion emissions fraud scandal he was sentenced to 7 years in prison.
Oliver Schmidt, VW's compliance liaison with US regulators guilty in August of conspiracy to defraud the US. UU and another to violate the Clean Air Act. Federal prosecutors sought a maximum of seven years, while Schmidt asked federal district judge Sean Cox to limit his sentence to 40 months, saying he had been trained to lie about emissions by his bosses.
Cox sentenced Schmidt to 60 months for the first count and 24 months for the second count, to execute consecutively. Schmidt was fined $ 400,000.
Volkswagen has already incurred some $ 30 billion in costs after its admission in September 2015 that it equipped some 11 million diesel cars worldwide with a defeat device, an integrated software that enabled vehicles recognize when they were being tested under laboratory conditions and reduce emissions to reach acceptable levels.
VW developed the devices in an attempt to boost sales by offering a "clean diesel" that would meet the most stringent emissions standards and attract environmentally aware customers. The company needed to certify that the vehicles complied with US standards. UU And they could not do it without cheating.
VW's costs so far include agreements of governmental and customer lawsuits, repurchases and updates of affected vehicles, and the criminal culpability agreement, which included $ 2.8 billion in criminal fines and $ 1.5 billion in civil fines.
The company and its executives are still under investigation in Germany and are facing lawsuits from investors in the US. UU And at home.
Schmidt is the second employee sent to prison for participating in the cheating scheme. James Liang, a veteran VW engineer, was sentenced to 40 months in prison in August. Liang, who pleaded guilty to conspiracy last year and has been cooperating with prosecutors, appealed his sentence.
Schmidt, a German citizen, was arrested in Miami while on vacation. He was considered a flight risk and denied bail. Five other executives were accused by the US UU And they remain in Germany, avoiding arrest. They include executives who led the development of the engine, as well as the failed efforts to design a diesel engine that would meet the strictest emission standards that EE. UU Adopted for 2007, as well as another link with US regulators.
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Schmidt, former senior manager of the US Office of Environment and Engineering at Volkswagen. The US downplayed its role in the scheme in court documents filed last week asking Judge Cox to limit his sentence. Schmidt said he learned for the first time about the company's plan in the summer of 2015, at the end of the conspiracy. Of the 500,000 affected vehicles sold in the United States, only 8,757 can be "attributed to Mr. Schmidt's misconduct," his attorneys argued in the filing.
Prosecutors disagreed, saying in recommending the maximum jail time that Schmidt closed the regulators, encouraged "key VW engineers" to destroy documents and provided false information to federal agents.
The case is US v. Schmidt, 16-cr-20394, US District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).