VW Exec gets seven years
Oliver Schmidt, Volkswagen AG executive, was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined US$400,000 by a judge yesterday. He was involved in a diesel emissions scandal that cost the car maker nearly thirty billion. Schmidt oversaw the company’s environmental and engineering office, until February 2015, where he oversaw emissions issues. The sentence and fine for the executive were the maximum possible under a plea deal in August. “It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States,” U.S. District Judge Sean Cox of Detroit told Schmidt in court. “You saw this as your opportunity to shine ... and climb the corporate ladder at VW.” In March, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve U.S. charges that it installed secret software in vehicles to elude emissions tests. U.S. prosecutors have charged eight current and former Volkswagen executives. Six of those remain at large. The auto industry is still feeling the effects of Volkswagen’s diesel cheating. Regulators around the world are currently investigating other carmakers for potential violations of diesel emissions rules. On Wednesday, German prosecutors said they had begun an initial inquiry into BMW AG, as it is speculated that the automaker is selling a vehicle that emits up to seven times the allowed levels of smog-forming nitrogen oxides.