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VW executive to plead guilty in 'dieselgate' case

27 July 2017, 06:27 | Melanie Burgess

VW exec expected to plead guilty for Dieselgate, could get 169 years

VW's Liaison to US Regulators Is Preparing Guilty Plea

Oliver Schmidt, the German automaker's former emissions compliance official, plans to plead guilty during an August 4 hearing in the U.S. District Court in Detroit. Schmidt, who is German, is is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud. Mr. Schmidt is the second to plead guilty after James Liang, an engineer based from 1983 to 2008 in Wolfsburg, the headquarters of VW in Germany, where he worked in the department in charge of diesel development. Schmidt's lawyer, David DuMouchel, declined comment when asked about his client's decision.

"I'm unable to comment on what the terms of the plea agreement might be", said Gina Balaya, a spokeswoman for prosecutors.

Back in January, the Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt on charges related to the automaker's diesel scandal.

Mr. Schmidt is one of eight individuals charged in the U.S.in Volkswagen's emissions cheating. The only reason that Schmidt is in U.S. custody is that he was picked up at an airport in Florida while on stopover from a return trip from Cuba.

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US prosecutors have amassed more than 4.3 million documents covering more than 40 million pages in the ongoing probe.

VW pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.

Earlier in July, the Justice Department charged former Audi manager Giovanni Pamio with directing employees to design software enabling thousands of Audi diesel cars to beat US emissions tests. Schmidt was the head of VW's environmental and engineering center in MI.

Numerous other managers charged are believed to be in Germany, making extradition to the USA unlikely.

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