Former VW Exec Schmidt Gets Maximum Sentence in Diesel Scandal

December 06, 2017 at 5:25 PM

Oliver Schmidt—the former Volkswagen AG executive who pleaded guilty in August to lying about VW’s diesel pollution cheating—has received the maximum sentence of seven years in prison and a $400,000 fine.

Detroit U.S. District Judge Sean Cox describes Schmidt as a “key conspirator” who destroyed evidence, repeatedly lied to government officials and saw the cover-up as a way to advance his career.

Schmidt had been in charge of VW’s U.S. emission certification office. In that role, he admits misleading regulators about illegal pollution control software that VW used for 10 years. The so-called defeat device enabled 555,000 of the company’s diesel vehicles to pass U.S. emission tests but then release excessive pollution when driven on the road.

Schmidt was arrested in January as he was preparing to leave the U.S. and has been imprisoned since then as a flight risk. He will serve his sentence at a federal penitentiary in Michigan.