Arrest VW Exec Over Emissions Scandal Enters Non-Guilty Plea

Feb 26, 2017 08:20 AM EST | JP Olvido

The VW executive who got arrested in the US while on vacation has appeared in a Detroit federal court on charges related to the recent Volkswagen emissions scandal. A non-guilty plea was entered on behalf of the VW executive Oliver Schmidt last Thursday.

Arrest VW executive appears in federal court. Oliver Shmidt, a former VW general manager in charge of the company's environmental and engineering office in Michigan, initially appeared in a United States district court in Miami. He did not enter a plea then and so was ordered held by U.S. Magistrate Judge William C. Turnoff until last Thursday's appearance where a non-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Schmidt was arrested on a Saturday in Florida while waiting for a plane back to his home country of Germany. He was said to be on vacation while in Florida. His arrest came after Schmidt's lawyer had learned of an on-going investigation related to the VW emissions scandal and reached out to the Federal Bureau of Investigation with an offer to cooperate.

The emissions scandal that the German car manufacturer is currently embroiled in the company cheating on emissions tests that eventually allowed the entry of over 580,000 diesel vehicles into the US since 2009. The vehicles are said to actually emit 40 times the legally allowed level of carbon dioxide emissions.

Schmidt played a central role in the scandal by keeping from United States regulators information that their vehicles were installed with software that allowed cheating on emission tests. The executive had allegedly known of this illegal software since Volkswagen started using on Audi vehicles in 2009.

Volkswagen has recently agreed to pay vehicles owners affected by the scandal US$1.2 billion as settlement for claims that their vehicles were rigged to cheat on emissions tests. The company will also be repairing the vehicles to comply with emissions regulations. If authorities do not find the fixes satisfactory, the company would need to pay an additional US$4 billion.

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