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Government Prosecution of Errant VW Execs Is Out Of Control

Wednesday, January 11, 2017 3:31
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from The Daily Bell:

Bloomberg Volkswagen Executives in Germany to Face U.S. Charges in Diesel … Some of Volkswagen AG’s top executives may find it risky to leave Germany as U.S. prosecutors prepare to charge more company officials. Oliver Schmidt, a VW executive, was arrested in Miami as he was returning to Germany from vacation and faces charges of misleading regulators about the automaker’s diesel-emissions cheating devices. Prosecutors are preparing to charge more high-level German-based executives in the case, a person familiar with the matter said. Schmidt’s arrest caught many VW executives by surprise, including some attending an auto show in Detroit this week, according to another person.

Were VW officials dishonest and manipulative? Possibly so. Did anyone get badly harmed by their emissions “cheating.” Any hard evidence of that? Probably not.

This is a witch hunt seemingly of greater urgency than catching pedophile priests. Why? Because VW has money. White collar crime does pay — for the government, in the fines they manage to extract from the perpetrators.

The way the article reads, this guy’s own lawyer, told the US government he’d be in the USA on holiday. They arrest him as he is about to board the plane home and throw him in a brown jumpsuit and leg irons.


Lawyers for some senior executives in Germany have already warned their clients not to leave the country, according to a third person.  The arrest and the looming charges against senior executives show that the year-long investigation into the emissions cheating is coming to a head in the final days of the Obama administration.

A multibillion-dollar settlement between the carmaker and the Justice Department will probably come this week, people familiar with the matter have said. VW admitted last year that about 11 million diesel cars worldwide were outfitted with so-called defeat devices, embedded algorithms used to game emissions tests.

Schmidt, 48, who was VW’s liaison with U.S. environmental regulators, appeared in federal court in Miami Monday, where a judge ordered him held in custody as a flight risk. His lawyer sought Schmidt’s release, saying his client had alerted the government he was visiting and was willing to speak with investigators and face charges.

That wasn’t enough for the US though. The court filing is a kind of road map of charges aimed at high level German execs.

Other senior levels execs could be arrested this way and the result will be that such execs will stop travelling to the US. The government and VW have been trying to reach a full settlement before Donald Trump is sworn in as president of Jan. 20.

VW has admitted to cheating regarding emission regulations that could be bypassed using algorithms that could lower the amount of pollution generated during testing. Some execs are thus under scrutiny in both Germany and the US.

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