Court: Former VW executive to plead guilty in emissions scandal

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  July 25, 2017 at 1:54 PM
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July 25 (UPI) -- Oliver Schmidt, a German national who formerly worked as a Volkswagen executive, has agreed to plead guilty over the massive emissions-cheating scandal, a court spokesman said Tuesday.

Prosecutors and Schmidt's lawyers told District Judge Sean Cox that the former will plead guilty to charges of conspiracy and violating the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Schmidt, who is scheduled to appear in federal court on Aug. 4, headed Volkswagen's environment and engineering office in Auburn Hills, Mich., for several years. He worked as the automaker's liaison to U.S. regulators.

Schmidt is accused of knowingly providing the Environmental Protection Agency with false information about engine computers in Volkswagen's diesel vehicles, which investigations found were purposefully programmed to hide unlawful emissions performance.

Schmidt, who was arrested in February and denied bail, initially pleaded not guilty. He would become the most senior Volkswagen executive to deliver a guilty plea.

In January, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding American consumers and regulators, and agreed to pay a total of $4 billion in penalties.

Federal prosecutors say Volkswagen equipped certain 2.0-liter vehicles and others with software -- called a "defeat device" -- that detects when the car is being tested for emissions, and alters the engine to run at passable levels.

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