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U.S. Federal judge sentences former Volkswagen exec to seven years over diesel emissions scandal

December 8, 2017  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
U.S. Federal judge sentences former Volkswagen exec to seven years over diesel emissions scandal

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On Wednesday, an executive at Volkswagen was sentenced to seven years behind bars and is required to pay a penalty of $400,000 for covering up a plot to avoid pollution limits on diesel vehicles in the U.S.

German citizen Oliver Schmidt, who directed VW’s engineering and environmental office in Michigan, was sentenced on charges of conspiracy to defraud the federal government and violation of the Clean Air Act.

Schmidt, who was facing a maximum of 169 years behind bars on 11 federal counts before he took a plea agreement, will also be deported following the completion of his sentence, according to The New York Times.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox called Schmidt a “key conspirator” for destroying records, deceiving authorities and neglecting to disclose secret software that duped authorities into believing Volkswagen cars were adhering to emissions rules.

The cars, which are marketed as “clean diesel” vehicles, were programmed in a ten-year long scheme to trigger certain pollution results during testing, but not during standard road use.

“I’m sure, based on common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine — to climb the ladder at VW,” Cox stated. “Your goal was to impress senior management.”

Schmidt, who is the highest-ranking employee at Volkswagen to be convicted for the scheme in the U.S., said, “For the disruption of my life, I have to blame myself. … I accept responsibility for the wrong I committed.”

He has remained behind bars without bond since he was apprehended in January while attempting to go back to Germany after a vacation.

The scandal has cost VW over $20 billion in penalties since the diesel emissions scandal first surfaced in 2015.

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