Volkswagen senior manager faces prison for United States emissions scandal
08 December, 2017, 02:05 | Author: Sheri Evans
Cox said Schmidt knew Volkswagen's vehicles weren't compliant with US emissions standards and sentenced him to consecutively serve 60 months in prison for the first count and 24 months for the second count in addition to fining him $400,000.
Schmidt has been in custody since January, when he was arrested in Miami.
Prosecutors say Schmidt, a German national, lied to US environmental authorities, lied to investigators and encouraged others at VW to destroy arguments.
In exchange for his plea, federal prosecutors dropped multiple counts of wire fraud, which carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. Schmidt agreed to be deported to Germany after serving his sentence.
According to Reuters, US District Judge Sean Cox told Schmidt: "It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States".
The "dieselgate" scandal has cost Volkswagen as much as $30bn in fines, buybacks and settlements since 2015 when it admitted fitting 11m diesel vehicles worldwide with so-called defeat devices to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.
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Judge Cox earlier this year sentenced Volkswagen Engineer James Liang to 40-months in prison. He received four months more than prosecutors recommended.
He is the highest-ranking VW employee to be convicted in the scheme in the USA and the chances that the U.S. authorities will prosecute more senior VW executives are slim as most are in Germany, which is unlikely to extradite its citizens to stand trial in the US. "As a effect of that role, he was literally in the room for important decisions during the height of the criminal scheme". Audi is a subsidiary of Volkswagen.
In March, VW brought an end to Washington's criminal pursuit of the company, agreeing to pay Dollars 4.3 billion in civil and criminal fines and plead guilty to charges it likewise had defrauded the United States and violated the Clean Air Act.
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