Oliver Schmidt, who led VW’s United States environmental regulatory compliance office from 2012 to 2015, was recently arrested while traveling in the U.S., charged with fraud and violating the Clean Air Act.
The case against Mr. Schmidt sheds new doubt on Volkswagen’s assertions that top executives did not understand the full scale of the wrongdoing until early in September 2015, more than a year after questions were first raised about emissions from its vehicles. Mr. Schmidt briefed executives in detail months earlier, in July, according to the criminal complaint, filed in federal court in Michigan. The timeline of the briefing has not been laid out before by prosecutors.
The New York Times explained:
Mr. Schmidt was among the first to react in early 2014 when a study by West Virginia University found evidence that Volkswagen diesel cars polluted far more under normal driving conditions than they did in official testing labs.