The prison sentence and fine for the executive, Oliver Schmidt, were the maximum possible under a plea deal that the German national struck with prosecutors in August after admitting to charges of conspiring to mislead United States regulators and violate clean-air laws.
A judge on Wednesday sentenced a Volkswagen senior manager to seven years in prison for covering up a scheme to evade pollution limits on US diesel vehicles, calling it an astonishing fraud on American consumers.
Evidence showed that despite meeting with Californian regulators in 2015, Schmidt did not disclose why VW vehicles were testing oddly, and was later found to have destroyed documents that revealed the fraudulent software.
But Michigan-based US District Judge Sean Cox sentenced Mr Schmidt to the maximum sentence proposed by prosecutors, who had already dropped some charges against Mr Schmidt in exchange for the guilty plea. The government says he later misled USA investigators and destroyed documents. "Your goal was to impress senior management". Schmidt led VWs engineering and environmental office in MI from 2012 to early 2015.
"Without trust in corporate America, the economy can't function", Cox said.
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Mr Schmidt, a German national, is one of eight current and former VW officials charged in the United States in the diesel emissions scandal.
Schmidt, who had returned to Germany, was arrested in Florida in January after attempting to return home from a vacation following the filing of an Federal Bureau of Investigation complaint. He's been in custody without bond. "I accept the responsibility for the wrong I committed", Schmidt told the judge.
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.
In March this year VW pleaded guilty to the scheme, and alongside losing nearly a third of their stock price, fines issued by worldwide environmental protection agencies now cost the company more than $30 billion. Other VW employees have been charged, but they are in Germany and out of reach of USA authorities. But his lawyers point out that he wasn't involved when the scheme was hatched years earlier by the company. But Singer noted that Schmidt still was a major player at key events and purposely "lied and deceived".
"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.