Executive Pleads Guilty In VW Dieselgate Scandal

Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. A court spokesman in Detroit said Tuesday

A lawyer for Mr. Schmidt declined to comment.

The terms of Schmidt's plea agreement were not immediately clear.

Oliver Schmidt, a German citizen who for several years headed Volkswagen's environment and engineering office in Auburn Hills, Mich., faces charges that he conspired to defraud USA officials and customers with diesel-powered vehicles featuring illegal software that duped government emissions tests.

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Mr. Schmidt's cooperation would be a coup for the Justice Department's case against Volkswagen.

It was also revealed that he was well aware "the reason for the discrepancy was that VW had intentionally installed software in the diesel vehicles it sold in the United States from 2009 through 2015 created to detect and cheat USA emissions tests".

Even after setbacks such as fines, settlements, recalls, and fixes associated with the dieselgate scandal, Volkswagen set a new record for deliveries in 2016, delivering 10.3 million vehicles worldwide, up 3.8% year-over-year, and surpassing Toyota as the global leader in automotive volume sales in this process.

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It would stand to reason that Schmidt's deal probably involves providing testimony relating to the 7 other Volkswagen execs that have been charged as part of the investigation into the Volkswagen diesel emissions fraud scandal.

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. U.S. District Judge Sean Cox has refused to release Schmidt on bond, saying he might flee. The former VW head has been detained since his arrest earlier in 2017, putting him on the line for his final hearing on early next month.

Regulators in 2015 discovered that Volkswagen diesel cars marketed as clean in fact spewed up to 40 times the permissible limits of nitrogen oxide during normal driving, but this was hidden during emissions testing.

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