VW emission scandal: five more executives charged in the US

Schmidt is accused of conspiring to keep US regulators from finding VW’s cheat software back in 2014; more arrests are planned.

The US’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has charged five more Volkswagen executives with fraud connected to the emissions scandal, after executive Oliver Schmidt, for conspiring to keep regulators from discovering emissions cheat software. Violation of the Clean Air act is also on the rap list.

Those charged are all linked to engine development at Volkswagen and the company's relationship with emissions regulators, according to the New York Times. Company executives who have been indicted are Heinz-Jakob Neusser, who worked on branding for Volkswagen, Richard Dorenkamp and Jens Hadler, who were in engine development, Bernd Gottweis, from quality management and Jürgen Peter, who is reported to have been Volkswagen's main spokesman to the regulators.

The previous emissions compliance boss for Volkswagen’s US activities was arrested on Saturday. The move comes as part of a criminal investigation into the Volkswagen emissions scandal, commonly referred to as Dieselgate, and is reported to be the first of several arrests planned by the FBI.

Schmidt is accused of deliberately trying to deceive regulators during their earliest Dieselgate investigations. He is said to have labelled omissions in test results as technical faults, rather than admitting they were caused by the emissions-cheating software.

German-born Schmidt appeared before Parliament in Britain in the months following September 2014, when Volkswagen admitted to violating emissions regulatory laws in the US. He was one of the first VW representatives to say the brand’s actions were not technically illegal in Europe.

The FBI and Schmidt’s lawyers have so far not commented on his arrest. He is due to appear before a US court on Monday.

Media reports suggest the FBI will arrest more German-based VW executives as part of its ongoing investigations, but no names have been revealed as of yet. 

Copyright (c) Autocar UK. All rights reserved.
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Issue: 213 | Autocar India: May 2017

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