VW executive receives maximum prison sentence for his role in Dieselgate

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Lawyers spent roughly 90 minutes, on Wednesday in federal court in Detroit, giving different views about Oliver Schmidt's culpability in the scandal.

The prison sentence and $400,000 USA fine for Schmidt were the maximum possible under a plea deal in August the German national made with prosecutors after admitting to charges of conspiring to mislead U.S regulators and violate clean-air laws.

Defense lawyers had sought a sentence of only 40 months and a United States dollars 100,000 fine, saying Schmidt's participation in the conspiracy had not occurred until nine years after it began and that he had expressed remorse. This represents the maximum penalties for those charges brought against Schmidt.

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"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.

Judge Cox earlier this year sentenced Volkswagen Engineer James Liang to 40-months in prison.

Schmidt will be deported after he serves his sentence. They installed hidden software to hide that many of their cars weren't meeting emissions standards.

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In August, VW engineer James Liang was sentenced to 40 months in prison for his role in helping the German carmaker cheat U.S. emissions tests.

Reuters reports that in a letter filed in court and first published by Bild am Sonntag Schmidt wrote that he had agreed to follow a script agreed by Volkswagen management and a lawyer, at a meeting with Alberto Ayala, a California Air Resources Board executive.

According to a DOJ press release published today, "Schmidt knew that VW's diesel vehicles were not compliant with U.S. standards and regulations and that these representations made to domestic customers were false".

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Schmidt ran Volkswagen's US engineering and environmental office from 2012 through early 2015 and was responsible for obtaining regulatory approval for vehicles sold in the United States.

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