Second key executive of Volkswagen sentenced in the United States to prison for the emissions scandal. The German Oliver Schmidt, who has already pleaded guilty last summer to motor-handling fraud to simulate minor pollution, has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
The penalty exceeds the 40 months that were imposed in August to James Liang, the veteran engineer who participated in the development of the system that allowed cheating the controls.
Schmidt, who was in charge of supervising compliance with the regulations, cooperated with the investigators and expected a sentence similar to Liang’s.
But the judge denied the petition and decided to apply the maximum penalty in his case, because he considered that it was directed by his bosses to lie to the authorities in the United States with false data and destroying evidence, in order to cover up the fraud.
Specifically, he is sentenced to 60 months in prison for the conspiracy charge and to 24 months for violating the Clean Air Act.
The sentences will be applied consecutively. In addition, he will have to pay a fine of $ 400,000, double what was imposed on Liang. The US justice filed to date charges against eight employees of VW by the one baptized as DieselGate.
Schmidt, the closest to the VW leadership, was arrested last January while on vacation in Miami. It was just before the reprimand of the Department of Justice to the German group was known.
He was denied parole because of the risk of escape of the rest of the accused, five are outside the US and to be tried they should be detained extradited.
The executive started working for VW two decades ago and in 2012 he took charge of the department that maintains relations with environmental protection agencies in the US.
Schmidt intentionally tried to mislead the supervisors when they detected the first discrepancies in the controls. The other arrested is Giovanni Pamio, former manager of Audi.
VW secretly installed a computer system that was able to identify when the vehicle was being tested for emissions. At that moment the controls were activated. Liang and Schmidt were part of the hardcore of engineers who designed the electronic trap. The fraud, which affected 600,000 vehicles in the US, cost the company $ 30 billion in compensation.