Senior VW Exec Arrested in Florida

Volkswagen’s former American head of emissions compliance, Oliver Schmidt, was arrested on Saturday in Florida. He is accused by the FBI of playing a central role in VW’s TDI emissions cheating scandal.

Schmidt, charged of conspiracy to defraud the United States, was arrested amid reportedly intense talks between the VW and US regulators, who are trying to agree on a settlement before the Obama administration leaves office.

Schmidt deceived US regulators “by offering reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating on US emissions tests,” said FBI Agent Ian Dinsmore in an affidavit.

A complaint against VW unsealed on Saturday further stated that VW employees made a presentation to VW management in 2015—before the company admitted to emissions cheating—assuring them that the government was not aware of its TDI defeat device.

“Rather than advocate for the disclosure of the defeat device to US regulators, VW executive management authorized its continued concealment.”

“In the summer of 2015,” the complaint reads, “Schmidt agreed to travel to the United States to participate in direct conversations with US regulators in which he intended to, and did, deceive and mislead US regulators by offering reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating US emissions tests.”

Volkswagen brand chief, Herbert Diess, for his part, says that the VW simply has to accept that VW continues to be investigated. “But these are things that the management board itself has no knowledge of,” said Diess.

Despite the arrest, Jeanine Ginivan, a spokeswoman for VW, said that the automaker is still cooperating with the Department of Justice in its attempt to come to an agreement.

[source: Automotive News]