Saturday, 23 June, 2018

VW executive charged in US emissions scandal to plead guilty

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Kelvin Reese | 27 July, 2017, 18:26

A German Volkswagen executive who has been in a MI jail for months plans to plead guilty in the company's US emissions scandal, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

Oliver Schmidt, who led the German automaker's USA regulatory compliance office from 2012 to March 2015, will plead guilty at an August 4 hearing at a U.S. federal court in MI, the officials said. Schmidt, who is German, is is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud.

In March, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve US charges it installed software in vehicles to evade emissions tests.

"A lawyer for Schmidt, David DuMouchel, declined to comment".

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The terms of Schmidt's plea agreement were not immediately clear. He was charged with 11 felony counts with a potential maximum sentence of 169 years in jail. The only reason that Schmidt is in USA custody is that he was picked up at an airport in Florida while on stopover from a return trip from Cuba.

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. A Volkswagen spokeswoman said the auto maker continues to cooperate with U.S. Justice Department probes of individuals and declined to comment further.

Schmidt would be the second VW employee implicated in the emissions scandal to plead guilty. VW has spent more than $25 billion to settle civil and criminal cases related to the diesel emissions scandal. The others are in Germany, and nearly all are unlikely to face trials in the United States because Germany does not extradite its citizens. The former VW head has been detained since his arrest earlier in 2017, putting him on the line for his final hearing on early next month.

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