VW exec arrested for role in emissions scandal


Photo courtesy of Volkswagen Group of America

VW executive Oliver Schmidt was arrested Saturday for his part in the Volkswagen emissions conspiracy. Photo courtesy of Volkswagen Group of America

The Federal Bureau of Investigations arrested Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt on Jan. 7 for his part in the diesel emissions scandal. He is being charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, according to The New York Times, who cited unnamed sources.

Volkswagen has admitted that it outfitted 11 million diesel cars worldwide with emissions-defeating software and that those cars actually polluted at levels higher than air quality regulations allow. Volkswagen is close to reaching an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice to pay more than $2 billion as a result of the diesel emissions cheating.

Schmidt, who was the head of the regulatory compliance office for the Volkswagen Group of America from 2014 through March 2015, was arrested in Florida on Saturday and is expected to be arraigned today in Detroit, reports The Times.

Schmidt played a key role in the information given to regulators — including the California Air Resources Board (or CARB) — claiming that excessive emissions (that caused diesel cars not to meet air quality standards) were a result of technical issues. CARB says that much of the data presented at that time was fake. Schmidt also told legislators in the British Parliament that Volkswagen’s actions were not illegal in Europe.

In addition to CARB, the state attorney generals for New York and Massachusetts also accused Schmidt of a lead role in Volkswagen’s efforts to hide that it cheated on emissions tests.

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Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.