Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty for his part in the VW emissions scandal – yet still no compensation for U.K. victims!
Former VW executive, Oliver Schmidt, pleaded guilty for his participation in the automaker’s emissions scandal that was revealed to the public in September 2015.
According to reports, some employees and executives had been working on the so-called “defeat device” for approximately a decade, starting in May 2006. The employees reportedly agreed to effectively deceive regulators when they realised that VW engines wouldn’t be compliant with emissions standards.
What the “defeat device” did
Prosecutors found that the VW Group had created the software to effectively circumvent emissions tests. The software allowed vehicles to perform better in the laboratory during the tests than they did when driven on the roads for NOx emissions, and it was found that some vehicles were polluting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide (NOx) than the regulated limit.
There were 11 million vehicles affected globally, and experts say irreversible damage may well have been caused to the environment, as well as the fact that vehicle owners have been deceived to believe their vehicles were more environmentally friendly than they actually were.
Though it’s uncertain whether Mr Schmidt participated in any part of the actual creation of the software, he admitted to participating in trying to cover-up the software when regulators raised questions about irregularities that had been discovered.
Prior to his guilty plea, Mr Schmidt reportedly attempted to conceal VW’s actions. He was the head of VW’s engineering and environmental office in the U.S. at the time, and as an executive of that specific department, he may well have called the shots and made big decisions regarding the “defeat device” as well.
However, according to the court filing, Mr Schmidt was allegedly only aware that the devices had been installed in 2015. This was apparently after the discrepancies were made public and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confronted the automaker about the allegations.
As a result of his guilty plea, Mr Schmidt faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $400,000 (£306,000) for conspiring to defraud the U.S. and for violating the Clean Air Act.
Mr Schmidt is expected to be sentenced on 6th December.
Mr Schmidt is one of six VW executives arrested and charged for alleged participation in the scandal. Other perpetrators reportedly reside in Germany and will probably never see their day in court in the U.S., as it’s against the German constitution for their residents to be extradited to another country to face trial.
The other executives charged were Richard Dorenkamp; Bernd Gottweis; Jens Hadler; Heinz-Jakob Neusser; and Jürgen Peter.
Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jean Williams said:
“Schmidt, along with each and every official involved in this emissions scandal, will be held fully accountable for their actions by the Department of Justice as this investigation continues.”
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