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VW manager pleads guilty in US ‘dieselgate’ case

A Volkswagen (VW) manager, currently jailed in connection with the German automaker's emissions scandal in the United States, has pleaded guilty in a Detroit courtroom, hoping for lesser punishment. US prosecutors confirmed Friday that charges against Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt would be reduced after he pleaded guilty to his part in covering up the German carmaker's "dieselgate" emissions-cheating scandal in the US. Schmidt, who led the German automaker's US regulatory compliance office until 2015, appeared in a Detroit court to enter his plea. He had pleaded not guilty before his change of mind. US prosecutors said they would drop a wire fraud charge, which carried a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. But they retained a fraud conspiracy charge and a charge of violating the US Clean Air Act, which together carry a maximum sentence of seven years. Also under the plea agreement, Schmidt may have to pay a fine of between $40,000 (34,000 euros) and $500,000. The final verdict is due December 6, 2017. In 2015, VW admitted it had equipped about 11 million cars worldwide with defeat devices to evade emissions tests, including about 600,000 vehicles in the United States. Diesel cars marketed as clean were in fact emitting 40 times the permissible limits of nitrogen oxide during normal driving. Altogether eight managers from the German car group are facing charges by US authorities for the company's breach of emissions regulations. Many of the other managers charged are believed to be in Germany, making extradition to the US unlikely. Schmidt was the second VW employee to plead guilty, after former company engineer James Liang admitted last year to helping devise the defeat devices. An FBI affidavit cited him as a cooperating witness. In March, VW agreed to pay $4.3 billion in penalties after pleading guilty to conspiring to violate the US Clean Air Act. That was on top of $17.5 billion in civil settlements. The carmaker still faces an array of legal challenges in Germany and worldwide, and has so far set aside more than 22 billion euros to cover dieselgate costs.

A Volkswagen (VW) manager, currently jailed in connection with the German automaker’s emissions scandal in the United States, has pleaded guilty in a Detroit courtroom, hoping for lesser punishment. US prosecutors confirmed Friday that charges against Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt would be reduced after he pleaded guilty to his part in covering up the German carmaker’s “dieselgate” emissions-cheating scandal in ... Read More »

Scandal to screen: DiCaprio linked to possible Volkswagen film

The ongoing Volkswagen scandal may make it to the big screen. A US movie studio and actor Leonardo DiCaprio's production company have acquired movie rights to a book proposal on the German carmaker's emissions cheating. It hasn't even been a month - but in Hollywood, time is money. On September 18, environmental regulators in the United States accused German auto industry giant Volkswagen of intentionally cheating on vehicle emissions tests. What followed was a scandal of epic proportions which led to the resignation of VW chief Martin Winterkorn, tumbling stock prices and a potential legal minefield. But could it be a blockbuster? Movie studio Paramount Pictures and Appian Way - the production company belonging to American actor Leonardo DiCaprio - have bought the film rights to a book proposal from "New York Times" journalist Jack Ewing about the ongoing debacle. Ewing's as-yet untitled book was expected to explore how Volkswagen's internal ethos fueled the massive fraud which has affected some 11 million vehicles worldwide. DiCaprio is no stranger to tackling such based-on-a-true-story issues. He was the producer and star of "The Wolf of Wall Street" which focused on investor fraud, and is one of Hollywood's most outspoken advocates on environmental issues . The repercussions from the cheating revelations continued on Monday. International credit rating agency Standard & Poor's cut the automaker's long-term debt rating and the European Investment Bank announced it could potentially demand billions in loans back from Volkswagen.

The ongoing Volkswagen scandal may make it to the big screen. A US movie studio and actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company have acquired movie rights to a book proposal on the German carmaker’s emissions cheating. It hasn’t even been a month – but in Hollywood, time is money. On September 18, environmental regulators in the United States accused German auto ... Read More »

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