FBI Arrests U.S. VW Executive Over Diesel-Emissions Cheating

Oliver Schmidt, who led VW's U.S. compliance office, was reportedly arrested Sunday.

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Last year, we reported that Volkswagen would face criminal charges in the U.S. over its emissions-cheating diesel cars. Now, the New York Times reports that the FBI arrested a VW executive in Florida on Sunday, citing two anonymous sources.

Oliver Schmidt, who led VW's U.S. regulatory compliance office from 2014 to March 2015, was arrested on conspiracy charges and will be arraigned in Detroit Monday. The Times reports that the FBI believes Schmidt played a role in attempting to convince U.S. regulators that VW's diesel cars didn't use illegal, emissions-cheating defeat devices. He eventually admitted to using a defeat device at some point in 2015.

Schmidt isn't the first U.S. VW employee to face criminal charges over the automaker's emissions-cheating scandal. VW engineer James Robert Liang pleaded guilty last year to conspiracy charges over his role in developing the emissions-cheating defeat device in the Jetta TDI. Schmidt, however, is the first U.S. executive to face charges.

Schmidt's arrest comes a few months after VW agreed to a near-$16 billion settlement with the U.S. government over its dirty 2.0-liter diesels. Last month, the automaker reached a settlement over its emissions-cheating 3.0-liter V6 diesels.

The Times reports that VW is working on a settlement with the U.S. Justice Department over its criminal investigation that could be finalized as soon as next week. Under this settlement, VW will plead guilty and pay $2 billion.

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