Volkswagen top manager sentenced to seven years over emissions scandal

One of the former managers of the American division of the Germany’s largest car manufacturer Volkswagen, Oliver Schmidt, was sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison for falsifying air pollution data to make it look cleaner. The U.S. District Court in Detroit also ordered him to pay a $400,000 fine.

According to the investigation, Oliver Schmidt played one of the major roles in concealing the real environmental damage caused by Volkswagen’s products, providing false technical explanations for the high emissions levels.

The Volkswagen emissions scandal started on 18 September 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of conspiracy, fraud and violating of the Clean Air Act to German automaker Volkswagen Group.

The scandal was called “Dieselgate” – by analogy with the Watergate, a political crisis that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon from the post of U.S. President.

Oliver Schmidt is not the first person to be sent to prison over the scandal. A former Volkswagen AG engineer, James Liang, who cooperated with investigators, was sentenced last summer to 40 months in prison and a $200,000 fine for his role in the conspiracy. Six more former Volkswagen executives are being charged over their alleged roles in the emissions scandal, but they are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities. Among them is Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who was previously responsible for engine development and, later, a Board Member for development of the Volkswagen brand.

In March 2017, the Volkswagen company pleaded guilty as a corporation to conspiracy and other charges. It also admitted that 11 million of VW vehicles were equipped with software that was used to cheat on emissions tests.

The installed software allowed VW cars to activate emission controls during emission tests in order to meet environmental standards, while during regular driving emissions were far above legal limits. In fact, diesel cars produced by the Volkswagen group were emitting up to 40 times more nitrogen oxide pollutants than the allowable levels.

Volkswagen’s deliberate cheating on pollution emissions tests already costed it more than $22 billion in civil and criminal fines and consumer settlements.

1 reply
  1. Dr UN Nandakumar
    Dr UN Nandakumar says:

    It is a great news that the polluters or those who abet with polluter are getting punished.It is heartening to note that the company has to pay a price of US$22 billion in civil and criminal fines and consumer settlements. Such verdicts should as deterrent to those polluting the environment and also to those who provide false advertisements. Those who advertise for companies for advertising fee should also be careful as they are misusing their hard earned reputation by acting as advertisers for poor quality products and services.


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