Senior VW managers warned not to travel to US

Alicia WestJan 14, 2017

Federal prosecutors convinced U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff that Schmidt could be a flight risk if he is set free before trial.

The judge indicated Schmidt could face a long prison sentence (169 years on conspiracy and fraud charges) and the case against him appears strong. Five other Volkswagen executives have also been charged in an indictment released Wednesday in Detroit.

The Department of Justice said all six were involved in the development of Volkswagen engines-and were directly responsible for issuing orders to install the illegal TDI "defeat device" software. The others are still in Germany.

Mr. Schmidt, who stood mostly stone-faced and silent during the hearing and wore a tan jumpsuit, was arrested at Miami International Airport on Saturday en route home to Germany. All six stand accused of conspiring to defraud the US and violating the Clean Air Act by lying to regulators and the public about the ability of Volkswagen's "clean diesel" technology to comply with USA emissions requirements.

After Judge Turnoff sided with the prosecution, Mr. Massey asked him to expedite Mr. Schmidt's transfer to MI from Florida.

VW pleads guilty in emissions scandal six employees indicted
VW agrees to pay $4.3b settlement over emissions-cheating

A USA judge has ordered a Volkswagen executive charged in the Justice Department's emissions scandal investigation held without bail pending trial.

Volkswagen itself has pleaded guilty and will pay over four billion U.S. dollars in fines.

Schmidt's attorney, David Massey, said he will pitch the case for bail when he goes to federal court in Detroit, where the case will be tried.

Charles Kuhn, a partner at criminal law firm Hickman & Rose, said people in such a position faced "a harsh choice-voluntarily hand themselves in, or never leave Germany without fear that an worldwide arrest warrant will land them in United States custody anyway". "He knows he'd get caught". He was intercepted in Miami while returning to Germany after a vacation.

The goal was to educate the company's product developers so Volkswagen could tailor more models to the US market, to meet its goal of selling 800,000 vehicles in the country by 2018.

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