The former top emissions compliance manager for Volkswagen in the United States, Oliver Schmidt has been arrested by the FBI in Florida over his involvement in the diesel emissions scandal.
Schmidt is accused of playing a key role in ensuring United States regulators didn’t find out about the German brand cheating emissions.
The New York Times reports that, “The arrest of Mr. Schmidt is an escalation of the criminal investigation into emissions cheating by Volkswagen and comes amid talks between the company and the United States Justice Department about what penalties the carmaker should accept as part of a settlement.”
Schmidt is accused of trying to convince regulators that excess emissions of the brand’s diesel models were produced by technical issues, after a 2014 study from West Virginia University raised concerns about the engines.
In an affidavit by FBI agent Ian Dinsmore, Schmidt is accused of “offering reasons for the discrepancy other than the fact that VW was intentionally cheating on U.S. emissions tests, in order to allow VW to continue to sell diesel vehicles in the United States.”