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VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal

07 December 2017

Former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, who has pled guilty to criminal charges that he conspired to cover up the automaker's diesel emissions cheating scandal, was sentenced Wednesday to seven years in prison by a MI federal judge.

Schmidt had been looking to limit his own sentence to 40 months in jail, with court papers filed last week showing Schmidt had said he only learnt about the scheme in the summer of 2015, at the end of the scandal.

The prison sentence and $400,000 United States fine for Schmidt were the maximum possible under a plea deal in August the German national made with prosecutors after admitting to charges of conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violate clean-air laws. "Corporations and individuals acting on behalf of corporations will be brought to justice for harming our environment".

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"I'm sure, based upon common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as an opportunity to shine - to climb the corporate ladder at VW", U.S. District Judge Sean Cox said.

Federal courts have ordered Volkswagen to spend more than $1 billion to buy back or fix the affected cars.

Along with the seven years in prison, Schmidt was ordered to pay a $400,000 fine. He received four months more than prosecutors recommended.

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Five other VW employees remain at large. The software allowed the cars to pass emissions tests under lab conditions, while disabling the emissions-control software under real-world driving conditions so the cars would have better performance.

A study published in May found that excess nitrogen oxide from improperly configured diesel vehicles had contributed to about 38,000 premature deaths worldwide in 2015. According to the January 2017 complaint against Schmidt, the executive "offered technical reasons and excuses such as "irregularities" or "abnormalities" for the discrepancy without revealing the fundamental reason for the higher NOx measurements on the road: software intentionally installed in VW vehicles so the vehicles could detect and evade emissions testing". But his lawyers point out that he wasn't involved when the scheme was hatched years earlier by the company.

The scandal has cost Volkswagen billions of dollars in fines and settlements.

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VW Executive Gets 7 Years In Prison In Emissions Cheating Scandal