Volkswagen senior manager Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in a USA prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles. Schmidt previously pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Air Act and conspiring to defraud the USA government in August for his role in Dieselgate.
Oliver Schmidt, 48, was also fined $400,000 by a judge in Detroit Wednesday.
Federal Judge Sean Cox rejected defense claims that Schmidt had just "read from a script" provided by his superiors at Volkswagen.
Cox told Schmidt in court: "It is my opinion that you are a key conspirator in this scheme to defraud the United States".
Schmidt, as the general manager of Volkswagen's Engineering and Environmental Office in MI, was responsible for the company's relationship with California's regulatory agency and as per the reports, fed federal regulators with incorrect information.
In a statement to the court, Schmidt admitted guilt, saying, "I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry". The government says he later misled US investigators and destroyed documents. Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme, which violated the Clean Air Act.
U.S. prosecutors have charged eight former and current Volkswagen employees in relation to the Dieselgate scandal. "As a effect of that role, he was literally in the room for important decisions during the height of the criminal scheme".
The company was forced to pay a $4.8 billion fine including a $2.8 criminal fine and a $1.5 billion civil fine.
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