VW's US environment boss gets seven years for Dieselgate scam

Oliver Schmidt lied his way up the greasy pole, Judge rules

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to 84 months in a United States federal prison for his role in the “dieselgate” software scandal that saw vehicles deliver test results that indicated their emissions met US standards when in fact they were smoke-belching jalopies.

Schmidt was general manager of Volkswagen's US Environment and Engineering Office, a role in which the Department of Justice said he learned of the conspiracy to cheat on emissions tests and joined in rather than putting a stop to the practice. In August 2017 he pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act, and to one count of violating the Clean Air Act.

The former exec was on Wednesday US time sentenced by Judge Sean F. Cox of Detroit's Federal District Court. Judge Cox labelled Schmidt “a key conspirator responsible for the cover-up in the United States of a massive fraud perpetuated on the American consumer” and said he “... viewed the cover-up as an opportunity to shine and climb up the corporate ladder”.

The Justice Department's we took down this scumbag announcement quoted Acting US attorney Lemisch as saying “This sentence reflects how seriously we take environmental crime. Protecting natural resources is a priority of this office. Corporations, and individuals acting on behalf of corporations, will be brought to justice for harming our environment.”

Schmidt was also fined US$400,000. Once he goes inside, Schmidt may meet fellow VW execs James Liang, who's in for 40 months. Volkswagen itself has copped to three charges and coughed $4.3bn to set things right. ®

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