VW Executive to Plead Guilty In Wake of U.S. Emissions Probe

Oliver Schmidt, former top executive at Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Michigan, is ready to plead guilty in a U.S. District Court in Detroit next month.

Schmidt is charged with 11 felony counts relating to VW’s diesel emissions scandal and may be eligible for a maximum sentence of 169 years, according to federal prosecutors.

While the trial isn’t scheduled until August 4th, a spokesman for the court indicated the former-VW executive is seeking a plea deal. The details of the bargain are currently unknown, but it’s likely to involve a reduced sentence in exchange of information on the scandal’s murky history.

“It is now clear that Volkswagen’s top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark — and they did this for years,” stated FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe in January. “We can’t put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable.”

U.S. prosecutors have already amassed millions of documents relating to the emissions cheating scandal and earlier reports indicated Schmidt helped authorities make sense of them.

According to Reuters, federal court spokesman David Ashenfelter explained that prosecutors and lawyers told U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Tuesday that Schmidt had already decided to plead guilty.

James Liang, the longtime Volkswagen employee who pleaded guilty to misleading regulators in September, has also been cooperating with regulatory investigators and will be sentenced on August 25th. He could spend up to 5 years in prison, although the maximum penalty is unlikely.

This article originally appeared at TheTrithAboutCars.com


More Hybrid News...