Guilty VW engineer, James Liang, likely to be imprisoned for three years
Former VW engineer, James Liang, pleaded guilty for his part in the emissions cheating that emerged in 2015, and prosecutors are now recommending a three year prison sentence for his involvement in the monstrous atrocity that shook the auto industry around the world.
Since the breaking of the scandal, VW has paid out around £20 billon in various penalty fines, settlements and lawsuits, and several executives and engineers are under investigation for their alleged participation in the scandal.
James Liang is reportedly a diesel engine expert with over 30 years experience in his field. His involvement and knowledge of the emissions scandal was likely significant.
Since pleading guilty for misleading regulators, Liang has been cooperating with authorities in their ongoing investigations into the giant carmaker. A prosecutor said he “provided an insider’s perspective of a company that had lost its ethical moorings in pursuit of increased market share and corporate profits.”
Former VW executive, Oliver Schmidt, recently pleaded guilty for his involvement in the emissions scandal too. At his position, Schmidt reportedly had a major role in the suspected decade-long conspiring and development of the emissions software, as well as reportedly being involved in hiding evidence when the use of the so-called “defeat devices” was uncovered.
Schmidt is reportedly facing up to seven years in prison as well as a penalty fine of around £300,000 for his involvement. His admission to “conspiring to mislead U.S. regulators and violating clean air laws” may see a slightly more lenient sentence if he cooperates with authorities in their continuing investigations.
Charges against executives
Prosecutors have so far reportedly charged seven other VW executives in their hunt for top board members who may have known about, and instructed the use of, the emissions “defeat devices”. The U.S. has indicted German executives to be held accountable for crimes in the U.S., but laws that do not allow the extradition of German citizens to foreign territories mean some may never have to face their crimes in America.
Since the emissions scandal broke out, former CEO of the Volkswagen Group, Martin Winterkorn, quickly resigned. Winterkorn is still being investigated by German prosecutors on allegations of fraud. CEO of Volkswagen Group in America, Michael Horn, resigned in March 2016.
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