Volkswagen Executive to Plead Guilty in Diesel Emissions Case

Chelsea West
July 27, 2017

U.S. prosecutors and lawyers for Oliver Schmidt, a German national, told U.S. District Judge Sean Cox in Detroit that Schmidt had chose to plead guilty, the court said Tuesday.

The US court approved in May the compensation plan of some 600,000 customers of the German manufacturer in the United States who had bought diesel cars equipped with software to defeat anti-pollution tests.

Oliver Schmidt, a German citizen who for several years headed Volkswagen's environment and engineering office in Auburn Hills, Mich., faces charges that he conspired to defraud USA officials and customers with diesel-powered vehicles featuring illegal software that duped government emissions tests.

"They set the plea date for 9:30 a.m., August 4", Ashenfelter said.

Federal Bureau of Investigation agents arrested Mr. Schmidt in January at Miami International Airport before he boarded a flight to Germany. The typical sentencing for all of these is 169 years, though it's unlikely that the judge will deal the Schmidt a life term. A lawyer for the executive did not immediately return a request for comment.

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Automotive News reports that a total of more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages have been filed regarding the Volkswagen scheme, easily becoming one of the largest criminal cases in recent years.

Earlier in July, the Justice Department charged former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio with directing employees to design software enabling thousands of Audi diesel cars to beat USA emissions tests.

Volkswagen has agreed to spend as much as $25 billion in the U.S.to resolve claims from owners and regulators over polluting diesel vehicles and offered to buy back about 500,000 vehicles.

Most of the Volkswagen executives charged are in Germany and may not travel to the United States since Germany typically does not extradite its citizens. When heading Volkswagen's environment and engineering office in MI from 2012 to early 2015, he liaised with USA and California regulators on compliance matters.

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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