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Government Power The Courts United States

Volkswagen Executive Sentenced To Maximum Prison Term For His Role In Dieselgate (arstechnica.com) 101

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: On Wednesday, a U.S. District judge in Detroit sentenced Oliver Schmidt, a former Volkswagen executive, to seven years in prison for his role in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal of 2015. Schmidt was also ordered to pay a criminal penalty of $400,000, according to a U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) press release. The prison term and the fine together represent the maximum sentence that Schmidt could have received under the plea deal he signed in August. Schmidt, a German citizen who lived in Detroit as an emissions compliance executive for VW, was arrested in Miami on vacation last January. In August, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy and to making a false statement under the Clean Air Act. Schmidt's plea deal stated that the former executive could face up to seven years in prison and between $40,000 and $400,000 in fines.

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. Schmidt also wrote a letter to the judge, which surfaced over the weekend, in which the executive said he felt "misused" by his own company and claimed that higher-ranked VW executives coached him on a script to help him lie to a California Air Resources Board (CARB) official. Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal. 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. Although six other VW Group executives have been indicted, none is in U.S. custody.

Volkswagen Executive Sentenced To Maximum Prison Term For His Role In Dieselgate

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    after they architected the 2008 financial crisis, but when they see a bit of extra emissions they claim damages of tens of billions of dollars and put people in jail. The EU should arrest American bankers at any opportunity, to show that the EU can play the same dirty games.

  • by dryriver ( 1010635 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @05:10PM (#55698277)
    Germany, and by extension Europe, has over the last decades tried very hard to project an image of a decent, honest, open, rule-bound democracy with integrity, good laws, yada yada yada. Listening to the Germans and Europeans in general, you'd think that its always the U.S. Corporations that are doing horrible things in the name of profit. This has been used very, very successfully to mask the fact that German and other powerful European companies are incredibly aggressive when it comes to making money/profit, especially in developing world markets where they are very strong, and there are no rules for them to play by. Its not just German companies either. The French, Belgians, Dutch and so forth aren't any better. If there is money to be grabbed, they'll grab it, decency and rules be damned. So its not just VW and the other automakers that are doing this sort of stuff. This is a system problem in a European Union that seems "super decent" image-wise, but is anything but in reality. Also, there is no way the German and other European governments didn't know this kind of cheating was happening. They knew, but turned a blind eye to it until there was no hiding it anymore.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      if he had been american - Trump would have put him in charge of the EPA.

      • The funny part about how stupid this comment is; they're both rich, they'll both go to the same sort of prison, they might even end up as cellmates.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Listening to the Germans and Europeans in general, you'd think that its always the U.S. Corporations that are doing horrible things in the name of profit.

      And you'd be correct almost every time. Companies from all over the globe do bad things, but the US is more or less in a league of its own and annoyingly, they tend to get away with almost everything. When a non-US company does something wrong, or the Americans find a way to blame them for something, US government agencies and American media launch a hate campaign and demand billions of dollars. When American companies do much worse things, the US government goes to greath lenghts to make sure everything is

    • Also, there is no way the German and other European governments didn't know this kind of cheating was happening. They knew, but turned a blind eye to it until there was no hiding it anymore.

      Of course there is. They might have suspected, but they would not have done the work to find out if it might come back to bite them later. When someone else did the work to find out, they were left in a position of plausible deniability, which is the best place for a corrupt politician to find themself.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    My first thought when I read this was, 7 years for a little pollution but nothing for the crooked bankers that sent the US economy into the toilet in 2008 and then made billions more on the way out.

  • some jail time for the environutters that predicated all of the anti-car and anti-jobs regulations on this little white lie being true.

    How many times in the last decade have Democrats (especially Dems, though not exclusively) been telling us that "all the carmakers support 50MPG CAFE" as "proof" that their environmental regulations weren't bonkers.
  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @05:47PM (#55698501) Homepage Journal
    Notice Germany and the EU hasn't done a damn thing. And no, "fines" don't count. These people all have plenty of money. Shame on the EU.
    • Notice Germany and the EU hasn't done a damn thing. And no, "fines" don't count. These people all have plenty of money. Shame on the EU.

      And right up until yesterday neither had the USA. Things take time, and while the USA is putting a lot of effort into crucifying one guy both the EU and Germany are instead looking at the entire industry and have only just begun to bring cases against not only VW, but also Daimler and BMW too.

      Shame on the USA for scapegoating by going after one person rather than tackling the wider issue.

    • by Carewolf ( 581105 ) on Friday December 08, 2017 @07:50AM (#55700735) Homepage

      Notice Germany and the EU hasn't done a damn thing. And no, "fines" don't count. These people all have plenty of money. Shame on the EU.

      I notice you don't read non-fake news. Because they have been fined, and criminal proceeding are under way, even in Germany.

  • by Max_W ( 812974 )
    2500 - 3000 kg SUV emits more CO2 that a 1300 kg Volkswagen due to the Newton's second law of motion: F = m*a, i.e. Force (fuel) = mass * acceleration
  • Personal observation (Score:4, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Thursday December 07, 2017 @06:33PM (#55698753) Journal

    A co-worker of mine used to be in senior management at VW DE (left more than a decade ago), and he said that the whole thing was utterly unsurprising to him. He said the US management was the worst cross between lickspittle toadies focused only on their personal ladder-climbing and soulless used car salesman willing to say anything regardless of facts.

    • He said the US management was the worst cross between lickspittle toadies focused only on their personal ladder-climbing and soulless used car salesman willing to say anything regardless of facts.

      We've seen that this describes their German executives perfectly, why single out the Americans? The Germans have lied about this issue at every turn.

  • Although six other VW Group executives have been indicted, none is in U.S. custody.

    If they downloaded a crappy song, a SWAT team would have picked them up ages ago.

  • this cost real money. Worse, there's going to be decades of increased oversight that will cost even more. Somewhere is a billionaire who's net worth is now slightly less. That is not something we stand for in the world. Blood had to be spilled. I'm surprised we stopped here.
  • Yay for coerced false confession! American Gulag FTW!

    • I agree with this sentiment in general. I don't agree with this sentiment for the rich corporate executive.

      If a poor minority kid is in the wrong time, wrong place situation, and is told to 'just take the deal, they'll throw the book at you if you dare to assert your innocence,' that's a problem.

      This guy, however, had enough high-priced lawyers and what not that if he took a plea deal, it was a reasoned and informed decision. If he could have fought it with a decent chance of winning, he would have. If h

  • Let's just do a scoping exercise;

    1) Is the company at fault a foreign brand?
    2) Is the alleged perpetrator foreign, or have a foreign sounding name, or better still a foreign accent?
    ???
    4) Throw the book at him, and possibly make up a few extra books to ensure you really do get him

    For what it's worth, the EU hasn't (yet) done too much about this, so it seems they too use much the same score sheet. You'll also note that the same is true of bankers in those two regions too. Something to think about before takin

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