Ex Volkswagen executive jailed in United States amid diesel scandal

Broward County Sheriff's Office on 04 August 2017 shows a booking

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, who has pled guilty to criminal charges that he conspired to cover up the automaker's diesel emissions cheating scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison by a MI federal judge.

Schmidt originally faced up to 169 years in prison on 11 felony counts before he entered his guilty plea.

In August, Oliver Schmidt pled guilty to federal charges of conspiring to defraud the US and violating the Clean Air Act in connection with Volkswagen's "clean diesel" emissions cheating scandal.

Schmidt ended up in U.S. custody somewhat by chance.

Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January.

"Schmidt sent detailed updates to VW management in Germany apprising them of precisely what he had said, and making it obvious that he was following the script of deception and deceit that VW, with Schmidt's input, had chosen", prosecutors told the court last month.

Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence.

Along with the seven years in prison, Schmidt was ordered to pay a $400,000 fine. In August, VW auto engineer James Liang received a 40 month sentence and a $US200,000 ($263,713) fine for his role in the scandal. But, to date, five of the individuals remain at large.

The software reduced harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide when the cars were being tested, but on the road, the emissions were well over limits to control pollution.

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However, Oliver Schmidt, a German national who headed up VW's environmental and engineering office in MI, is only the second person to receive jail time in the United States for his role in the scheme. That summer, A CARB official asked to speak to Schmidt about a discrepancy between VW's emissions numbers from lab testing and real-world emissions numbers from researchers at West Virginia University.

Schmidt travelled to the U.S. as the scandal was breaking on a mission to lie to USA and Californian authorities so Volkswagen could obtain regulatory approvals to sell 2016 model year diesel vehicles in the United States, according to prosecutors.