Volkswagen’s head of compliance pleads guilty in emissions scandal

The car company's software cheat continues to garner criminal and civil repercussions.

Julien Amado/Autoblog Quebec

Last September, Volkswagen's James Robert Lang pled guilty in federal court on charges of conspiring to defraud US regulatory agencies and consumers. The veteran Volkswagon AG engineer admitted to his part in creating software for the EA 189 engine that would essentially cheat on emissions tests. The car company itself agreed to pay $4.3 billion to settle federal criminal and civil charges over the emissions-cheating technology this past January. Now yet another executive has entered a guilty plea. Oliver Schmidt faces up to seven years in prison and a fine of $40,000 to $400,000 for his part in conspiring to mislead US regulators. His sentencing is set for December 6th.

Schmidt was initially charged with 11 felony counts and could have faced a sentence of 169 years in prison. The guilty plea led to prosecutors dropping most of the charges. Volkswagen told Reuters that it "continues to cooperate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals. It would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personnel matters." The car company has also agreed to pay up to $25 billion in the US to resolve claims from consumers and regulators; it has also offered to buy back about 500,000 diesel vehicles.