A Volkswagen senior manager has been sentenced to seven years in prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles.
Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty in August to charges he conspired to commit fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act.
Prosecutors say Schmidt, a German national, lied to US environmental authorities, lied to investigators and encouraged others at VW to destroy arguments.
To view the full article, register now. He said he considered Schmidt a "key conspirator", who viewed the cover up as an opportunity to "shine" and "climb the corporate ladder".
Last week, Schmidt's attorneys made a last-minute bid requesting a lighter sentence for Schmidt: 40 months of supervised release and a $100,000 fine. Both the jail term and the fine were at the top end of sentencing guidelines.
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Oliver Schmidt, who is the second person to be sent to prison over the scandal, was dispatched to the USA from Germany in 2015 to meet with suspicious California regulators. The government says he later misled USA investigators and destroyed documents.
Although the initial stages of the scheme to goose emissions numbers started as early as 2004 at Audi, Schmidt and his lawyers assert that the executive only found out about the software in the summer of 2015, a few months before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made public VW Group's violation.
"Schmidt sent detailed updates to VW management in Germany apprising them of precisely what he had said, and making it obvious that he was following the script of deception and deceit that VW, with Schmidt's input, had chosen", prosecutors told the court last month. "As a outcome of that role, he was literally in the room for important decisions during the height of the criminal scheme".
Schmidt, 48, was arrested in Miami in January while trying to return to Germany after a vacation. Only one other VW employee has been sentenced in connection with the emissions scandal: former engineer James Liang, who received 40 months in prison and two years of supervised release as the result of his plea deal.
In March, Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty to three felonies and agreed to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine.