A high-ranking Volkswagen AG executive appeared in court in shackles and a jail uniform Monday after being charged with fraud and conspiracy in connection with the company’s diesel emissions scandal, Reuters reports.
“Oliver Schmidt, who was general manager in charge of VW’s environmental and engineering office in Michigan, did not enter a plea at an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Miami on Monday and was ordered held pending a hearing on Thursday by U.S. Magistrate Judge William C. Turnoff,” the story reports.
Reuters adds: “He was arrested on Saturday in Florida after attempting to return to Germany from a vacation there, the Justice Department said. Schmidt’s lawyer David Massey said Schmidt had learned of the investigation and reached out to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation to offer to cooperate. Schmidt then met with FBI agents in London last year, he said.”
The report also notes: “An FBI complaint unsealed on Monday against Schmidt said he and other VW employees told executive management about the ‘existence, purpose and characteristics’ of an emissions cheating device in July 2015, and that the executives chose not to immediately disclose it to U.S. regulators.”
Reuters adds: “The arrest and court appearance come as VW nears a $3 billion plus — and potentially $4 billion — settlement with the Justice Department and Environmental Protection Agency to resolve civil and criminal investigations into the diesel scandal, which sources have told Reuters could be announced as soon as Wednesday.”