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. He's been in custody since January when he was arrested while on vacation in Miami before he could return to Germany. Schmidt is charged with conspiracy and fraud.
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.
A federal court said Tuesday that Oliver Schmidt will plead guilty to some of the three charges against him, the Detroit News reports. The full terms of his plea bargain are not yet known. A Volkswagen spokeswoman said the auto maker continues to cooperate with U.S. Justice Department probes of individuals and declined to comment further.
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VW pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars. He was arrested in Germany. An engineer, James Robert Liang, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the US last fall. When heading Volkswagen's environment and engineering office in MI from 2012 to early 2015, he liaised with US and California regulators on compliance matters. He would become the most senior Volkswagen executive to deliver a guilty plea.
"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 Federal Bureau of Investigation deputy director Andrew McCabe in January. He's been held in the U.S. since that time.
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