A former Volkswagen executive who helped the automaker hide the Dieselgate saga from US regulators has been sentenced to seven years in prison and slapped with a $400 000 fine.
According to Automotive News Europe, a federal judge in Detroit handed Oliver Schmidt – the former general manager of the Wolfsburg brand’s US Environment and Engineering Office – the maximum jail term for his role in covering up the diesel emissions scandal.
In August, the 48-year-old pleaded guilty to two felony charges of conspiracy to defraud the US and of violating the Clean Air Act. The report says a third charge – that of “aiding and abetting wire fraud” – was bundled into the conspiracy charge in a plea agreement.
“In my opinion … you are a key conspirator responsible for the cover-up in the United States of this massive fraud perpetrated on the people of the United States,” the judge said, according to the report.
“I’m sure, based on common sense, that you viewed this cover-up as your opportunity to shine. That your goal was to impress senior management to fix this problem … to make yourself look better, to increase your opportunities to climb the corporate ladder at VW.”
Schmidt will serve out his sentence at a federal penitentiary in Michigan.