VW Exec to Plead Guilty to Non-Crime, Faces 169 Years

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UNDATED FILE PHOTO: (EDITORS NOTE: Best quality available) In this handout provided by the Broward Sheriff's Office, suspect Oliver Schmidt, an executive for Volkswagen poses in this undated booking photo. Schmidt was arrested January 7, 2017 in Florida and is expected to be charged with conspiracy and fraud in the Volkswagen emissions scandal. Schmidt was formerly a key emissions compliance manager for VW in the U.S. (Photo by Broward Sheriff's Office via Getty Images)
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A Volkswagen AG executive charged in the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal plans to plead guilty on August 4 in U.S. District Court in Detroit, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

Oliver Schmidt, who was chief of Volkswagen’s environmental and engineering center in Michigan, has been held in a cage since January when he was arrested in Miami trying to return to Germany. Schmidt is one of eight current and former executives charged in the U.S. emissions probe.

 

Federal court spokesman David Ashenfelter said prosecutors and lawyers told U.S. District Judge Sean Cox on Tuesday morning that Schmidt had decided to plead guilty.

A lawyer for Schmidt, David DuMouchel, declined to comment. Schmidt was charged with eleven felony counts and federal prosecutors said earlier this year that he could face a maximum of up to 169 years in prison.

The terms of Schmidt’s plea agreement were not immediately clear. It wasn’t immediately clear whether Schmidt is still employed by the company. He has been in custody since his arrest and was denied bail.

U.S. prosecutors have amassed more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages in the ongoing probe.

In March, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to three felony counts under a plea agreement to resolve U.S. charges it installed software in vehicles to evade emissions tests.

Volkswagen spokeswoman Jeannine Ginivan declined to discuss Schmidt’s case and said the automaker “continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals.”

Volkswagen has agreed to spend as much as $25 billion in the U.S. to resolve claims from owners and regulators over polluting diesel vehicles and offered to buy back about 500,000 vehicles.

Others charged

Earlier in July, the Justice Department charged former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio with directing employees to design software enabling thousands of Audi diesel cars to beat U.S. emissions tests. He was arrested in Germany.

James Liang, a VW employee who pleaded guilty to misleading regulators, is cooperating with prosecutors and will be sentenced on Aug. 25.

Among those indicted earlier were Heinz-Jakob Neusser, former head of development for VW Brand and two former heads of engine development, Jens Hadler and Richard Dorenkamp.

Most of the Volkswagen executives charged are in Germany and may not travel to the United States since Germany typically does not extradite its citizens.

“It is now clear that Volkswagen’s top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark — and they did this for years,” said FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe in January. “We can’t put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable.”

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15 COMMENTS

  1. Think about that for a minute. There’s lots of evidence that not only did VAG corporate give tacit approval to the “cheating” software, it’s looking more like the other German manufacturers were colluding to hide the issues with meeting the fatwa even in the EU. I’ll take one for the team but this guy went full-on mafioso for the company. I mean, this is Japanese yakuza levels of taking the fall. Except that I doubt VAG has a network on the inside to keep him safe.

    This guy’s family better be set for at least the next 2 generations.

  2. Jesus Hector Christ!
    Lots of thoughts on this one.
    The valiant taste of death but once, the coward dies a thousand times before he’s done.
    Had Herr Schmidt unleashed an MP40 from under his suit coat and cleared the judge and prosecution bench, justice would have been done.
    What does cruel and unusual punishment, excessive fines and bails mean when a man who has harmed exactly nobody can be sentenced to 169 years in a rape cage? Or even one minute?
    What have the taxpayers of this country done to deserve the expense of caging hundreds of thousands of “sinners” who have done no harm?
    Up here in the north country some decades back, a Minnesota game warden decided to get uppity and go after a group of local Indians, and got a frozen walleye forcibly inserted where the sun shineth not. One of the characteristics of a walleye (most fish for that matter) is the fins which retract going forward and spread when pulled backward. It had to be surgically removed.
    Time to feed the sonsabitchez fish heads- head first.

  3. What gets me… nobody ever questions the legitimacy of these “rules” that have been broken. Most people just assume that if it’s a rule, it must be followed. They honestly think that this guy shouldn’t have broken this sacred rule dictated from on high. It boggles the mind.

  4. “It is now clear that Volkswagen’s top executives knew about this illegal activity and deliberately kept regulators, shareholders and consumers in the dark — and they did this for years,” said FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe in January. “We can’t put companies in jail but we can hold their employees personally accountable.”

    Imagine if certain public officials were treated in a similar fashion — ie being held personally accountable for their actions.

    This — personal accountability for one’s actions — might help curb some of the more egregious offenses of public officials. Especially if one knows that there is a good chance of facing accountability for all misconduct & wrongs commited as a public official.

    • and its not just elected crooks, its also employed crooks.

      99% of the nonsense would go away on its own, if public drones were under the law like the rest of us.

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