2023 Author: Eric Donovan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-08-25 09:36
A long-time VW employee pleaded guilty in the course of the emissions scandal. The 62-year-old admitted to having been part of a conspiracy that lasted nearly a decade in his senior post.
In the scandal over manipulated exhaust gas values, a long-time VW employee pleaded guilty after a first criminal complaint. The US Department of Justice announced on Friday and thus confirmed corresponding media reports. The engineer has promised to help the government with the further investigation. This is the first time that the US judiciary's investigations, which have been going on for almost a year, have serious consequences at the criminal level.
According to the ministry, the 62-year-old from California admitted to having been part of a conspiracy that lasted almost ten years at the company's headquarters in Wolfsburg and later in the United States. The aim was to dupe US authorities and customers by developing special software for manipulating emission tests.
Manipulation started in 2006
The man was employed by Volkswagen AG in Wolfsburg from 1983 to May 2008. After that, the engineer moved to the United States to help launch the “Clean Diesel” market offensive. In the VW test laboratory in Oxnard, California, he held a senior position ("Leader of Diesel Competence") until the indictment.
The criminal complaint dated June 1, but was only now made public in the course of the agreement with the authorities. The defendant faces a prison sentence of up to five years.
According to the man, the development of cheat programs for the US market began around 2006 in the development department for diesel engines. The reason was the realization that the stricter US emission standards could not have been legally complied with.
Personal discussions with environmental authorities
As part of the registration process for diesel vehicles in the USA, the employee was also personally present at talks between VW representatives and the environmental authorities, during which false statements were made about the cars' emissions. The case is being heard in a Detroit, Michigan District Court before Judge Sean F. Cox. A spokeswoman for VW announced that the company would continue to cooperate with the US Department of Justice in the processing. Beyond that one could not comment.
VW had admitted in September 2015 after allegations by the US environmental authorities, on a large scale in emissions testshaving tricked. Millions of diesel cars that have been equipped with manipulation software are affected. With hundreds of US civil plaintiffs, the group has already agreed on a settlement of up to $ 15.3 billion (currently € 13.6 billion) for most vehicles.
It is difficult to assess to what extent statements by the ex-employee could additionally burden Volkswagen. In August, the "Wall Street Journal" reported, citing insiders, that the group was already in talks with the US Department of Justice to settle the criminal investigation with a settlement. The parties were therefore already in preliminary negotiations and aimed at a compromise by the end of the year. (dpa)
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