Second Volkswagen Employee Arrested in Ongoing TDI Investigation
Staffer Headed Company’s U.S. Compliance Office
As much as Volkswagen would like to put the TDI emissions cheating scandal behind it, the company has a long road ahead of it in terms of investigations, buybacks, infrastructure investments, and more in both the U.S. and globally. The latest shoe to drop in this ongoing saga is the arrest of the company’s former U.S. compliance officer Oliver Schmidt in Florida on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Schmidt headed VW’s U.S. compliance office in the U.S. from 2014 to March 2015.
Volkswagen’s sales chief Juergen Stackmann expressed surprise at Schmidt’s arrest, saying he didn’t even know if there was a connection between “Dieselgate” and Schmidt. Schmidt is the second major arrest associated with the scandal in the U.S., the first being engineer James Liang, who pleaded guilty to fraud in September. Liang was sentenced to 18 months for his role in the emissions cheating scandal, which was revealed in emails between himself and other engineering staff regarding the effectiveness of the cheat software that allowed TDI models to initially pass U.S. emissions tests. At the time of Liang’s trial, his attorney said his client was “one of many” involved in the scandal.
Volkswagen just reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to fix 2015 and 2016 TDI models to bring them into compliance with U.S. emissions standards. Future TDI models in the U.S. market are unlikely beyond the VW Touareg and Audi Q7 SUVs.