Baku, January 10, AZERTAC
A top Volkswagen executive has been arrested on conspiracy suspicion stemming from the German automotive giant's emissions scandal, according to a criminal complaint unsealed Monday, according to USA Today.
The weekend arrest of Oliver Schmidt, who directed VW's regulatory compliance in the U.S. from 2012 to 2015, moves the continuing investigation into the company's executive ranks, the latest development in the suspected corporate wrongdoing that has cost the automaker billions of dollars and stained its business reputation.
By virtue of his position, Schmidt knew that VW "intentionally installed" software that enabled its diesel engines to defeat U.S. auto emissions tests, according to the Dec. 30 affidavit by FBI Special Agent Ian Dinsmore filed in Detroit federal court.
Schmidt nonetheless agreed to travel to the U.S. in 2015 for meetings in which he "intended to, and did, deceive and mislead U.S. regulators" about the corporate cheating, said the affidavit, which was used to establish probable legal cause to authorize the Schmidt's arrest.
He was arrested Saturday in Florida, according to a report by The New York Times, and was expected to face an initial court appearance in Miami, followed by arraignment in federal court in Detroit at a later date.
Investigators believe they have evidence to establish that Schmidt and other VW employees "conspired and unlawfully agreed" to defraud the U.S. by impeding auto-emissions enforcement, committing wire fraud and violating the Clean Air Act, the affidavit said.