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07 December 2017, 07:18 | Opal Carroll
Former Volkwagen executive sentenced to 7 years in jail for emissions scandal
A senior Volkswagen executive was sentenced to seven years in a prison by a USA court on Wednesday after being found guilty of concealing software used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles.
Schmidt, 48, who has been in custody since his arrest in Miami in January, will be given credit for the time he has served in prison.
German citizen Oliver Schmidt was sentenced on Wednesday.
Last week, Schmidt's attorneys made a last-minute bid requesting a lighter sentence for Schmidt: 40 months of supervised release and a $100,000 fine.
Oliver Schmidt has also been fined $400,000.
Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal.
VW auto engineer James Liang was sentenced in August to 40 months in prison and fined $200,000 for his role in the scandal - four months more than prosecutors recommended. Six of those remain at large. He met with key California regulators in 2015 but didn't disclose the rogue software.
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. As VW Group rolled out its massive "clean diesel" marketing campaign appealing to environmentally conscious vehicle buyers, those same cars were actually emitting nitrogen oxide (NOx) many times in excess of the legal limit. Schmidt said he first learned about the company's scheme in the summer of 2015, at the tail-end of the conspiracy.
"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 ran VW's USA engineering and environmental office from 2012 through early 2015 and was responsible for obtaining regulatory approval for VW vehicles sold in the U.S.
According to a DOJ press release published today, "Schmidt knew that VW's diesel vehicles were not compliant with USA standards and regulations and that these representations made to domestic customers were false".
Cox said Schmidt knew Volkswagen's vehicles weren't compliant with US emissions standards and sentenced him to consecutively serve 60 months in prison for the first count and 24 months for the second count in addition to fining him $400,000.
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