The first person sentenced in the sprawling Volkswagen emissions scandal is headed to jail in South Korea, but the man who helped design the defeat smog-spewing engines will have to wait for his punishment.
Reuters reports an executive of VW’s South Korean division was handed a sentence of one year, six months today for his side-role in the diesel deception. Meanwhile, a German engineer who was the first employee charged in the scandal will cool his heels a little while longer.
It seems he’s just too useful.
The Korean exec, known only by his surname Yun, fabricated emissions documents and noise-level tests to gain the certification needed to import the vehicles. Besides document fabrication and obstruction of work, authorities charged Yun with violating environmental rules. South Korea decertified 80 VW Group models in August.
“Volkswagen has by itself undermined its credibility as a global brand as a result of this crime which has caused grave social and economic damages,” Seoul Central District Court said in a statement.
Investigations continue into that country’s role in the scandal. Already, VW’s Korean division has seen a $31.87 million fine for false advertising claims.
In California, the long-time engineer who helped design the ill-fated diesel motors has seen his sentencing delayed. James R. Liang, who joined the company in 1983 and was part of the team that crafted the emissions-compromised TDI engines, won’t learn his fate on February 1.
According to Reuters, Liang’s knowledge has proved very useful to U.S. investigators.
U.S. District Judge Sean Cox has delayed the sentencing to May 3, “to allow more time for defendant’s cooperation in the investigation.” In a court filing, Cox claimed Liang was “cooperating with the government in the investigation and the potential prosecution of others.”
Liang left Germany to work for the automaker’s U.S. division in 2008, after helping develop a crop of new “clean diesel” engines designed to spur American sales.