Former Volkswagen executive jailed for Dieselgate
Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive and one of the big names behind the Dieselgate emissions cheating scheme, has been jailed for seven years and fined US$400,000.
District Court judge, Sean Cox, told Schmidt “It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States. You saw this as your opportunity to shine… and climb the corporate ladder at VW.”
The scandal ended up costing Volkswagen a small fortune, at least US$30 billion.
Reading from a written statement in court, Schmidt said that he “made bad decisions and for that I am sorry,” breaking down when mentioning his family’s sacrifices since his arrest in January. He was caught during a business trip at the start of the year and was charged on 11 felony counts which held a maximum penalty of 169 years behind bars.
Schmidt was the head of the Volkswagen US engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to 2015, and was in charge of emissions testing for American-bound vehicles.
He returned to Germany in February 2015 where he was told about the emissions cheating software but later that year conspired with other executives to avoid disclosing “intentional cheating” to allow regulatory approval of the 2016 2.0-litre diesel engines.
Schmidt is one of eight VW executives charged, six of whom remain at large, most protected under Germany’s non-extradition policy.