Former VW exec to plead guilty in diesel case

Ian Thibodeau

Detroit — A former Volkswagen AG executive will plead guilty to some charges related to his alleged role in the automaker’s diesel emission cheating scandal, federal court authorities said Tuesday.

Oliver Schmidt, a German national, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, violating the Clean Air Act and aiding and abetting wire fraud. It was unclear which of those charges he will plea guilty to.

The U.S. District court for Eastern Michigan on Tuesday said Schmidt will plead guilty at a hearing at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 4 in Detroit.

Federal judge Sean Cox in March denied Schmidt a pretrial bond release after he was indicted for his role in the automaker’s diesel emission scandal. Schmidt was ordered to stay at a home in Rochester, wear a tether and GPS tracker, stay confined to the home and surrender his passport.

Schmidt is VW’s former top emissions compliance manager for the United States. He worked in VW’s Auburn Hills offices from 2012 to February 2015. He was arrested in Florida in February for alleged involvement in one of the largest alleged corporate criminal schemes in U.S. history.

Volkswagen AG pleaded guilty in March to three criminal charges related to the automaker’s decade-long conspiracy to rig nearly 600,000 diesel cars and evade U.S. emission standards.

Current and former VW executives were indicted in what regulators called a 10-year conspiracy to rig thousands of diesel cars to evade emission standards. Also charged in the case are: Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis and Jürgen Peter, all of Germany.

Another former Volkswagen executive already pleaded guilty. James Liang, leader of diesel competence for VW from 2008 through June, pleaded guilty to a criminal charge in Detroit in September.

Twitter: @Ian_Thibodeau

Staff writers Melissa Burden and Rob Snell contributed