Former Volkswagen Manager Sentenced To 7 Years For 'Dieselgate' Role

Former Volkswagen Manager Sentenced To 7 Years For 'Dieselgate' Role

On Wednesday, a US District judge in Detroit sentenced Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive, to seven years in prison for his role in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015.

Oscar Schmidt was also fined $US400,000.

Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence.

The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count.

He had pleaded guilty in August to charges he conspired to commit fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act.

"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.

Along with the seven years in prison, Schmidt was ordered to pay a $400,000 fine. Chief Executive Matthias Mueller last month predicted record deliveries of vehicles for the company this year, and the Volkswagen auto brand has said it expects record deliveries for 2017, and raised its midterm profitability outlook.

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Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal.

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.

Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme.

In March, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to 3 felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve United States charges that it installed secret software in vehicles in order to elude emissions tests.

"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. According to the January 2017 complaint against Schmidt, the executive "offered technical reasons and excuses such as "irregularities" or "abnormalities" for the discrepancy without revealing the fundamental reason for the higher NOx measurements on the road: software intentionally installed in VW vehicles so the vehicles could detect and evade emissions testing".

Prosecutors disagreed, saying in recommending the maximum jail time that Schmidt stonewalled the regulators, encouraged "key engineers at VW" to destroy documents, and provided false information to federal agents.

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