Diesel emissions fraud: Volkswagen exec to plead guilty

Posted July 27, 2017

Oliver Schmidt, the head of Volkswagen's USA regulatory compliance office from 2014 to 2015, will reportedly plead guilty to his part in the emissions cheating crime and face up to 169 years in prison, according to Automotive News.

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. Mr. Schmidt is the second to plead guilty after James Liang, an engineer based from 1983 to 2008 in Wolfsburg, the headquarters of VW in Germany, where he worked in the department in charge of diesel development.

"A lawyer for Schmidt, David DuMouchel, declined to comment". Mr. Schmidt is scheduled to be sentenced August 4, the spokesman said.

Schmidt is one of eight former and current Volkswagen executives who've been criminally charged for their roles in the never-ending Dieselgate saga, reports Reuters.

Oliver Schmidt was arrested while trying to take a plane to Germany in January this year, during the 2017 NAIAS in Detroit.

Schmidt, who was the head of Volkswagen's environmental and engineering center in MI, has been charged with 11 felony counts and could face a maximum of up to 169 years in prison. It wasn't immediately clear whether Schmidt is still employed by the company. "USA prosecutors have amassed more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages in the ongoing probe". Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan claimed that the brand "continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals".

VW will pay a $1.5-billion civil fine and $2.8-billion criminal fine, which would have been stiffer had the company refused to spend more than $11 billion to fix or buyback the almost 500,000 tainted vehicles. The others are in Germany, and nearly all are unlikely to face trials in the United States because Germany does not extradite its citizens. Schmidt was the head of VW's environmental and engineering center in MI.