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As far as anyone knows, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn spent the last 16 months on a desert island.
After resigning his post in the turbulent days after the diesel emissions scandal went public, Winterkorn stayed out of the spotlight, shying from any public appearances. That is, until now. As indictments land in executives’ laps and top brass grow wary of leaving the country, Winterkorn showed his face to a parliamentary committee in Berlin. Read More >
Abraham Lincoln said that someone who represents themselves in a legal proceeding has a fool for a lawyer. Somewhat removed from his popular homespun image is the historical fact that Honest Abe was an experienced, high-powered attorney whose clients included entities like railroad companies. The man knew a thing or two about the practice of law.
The same can probably be said about Adam MacLeod, who teaches law students how to litigate at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. Prof. MacLeod not only risked living down to Lincoln’s aphorism, he also violated many of the rules that he teaches his students how to act in court when he fought a ticket generated by a traffic camera in Montgomery, Alabama. Read More >
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles started off the week in solid form. It deftly preempted the Detroit auto show by unveiling its futuristic Portal minivan concept at the youthful Consumer Electronics Show a week prior, then dangled a big Mopar tease in front of enthusiasts with its yet-to-be-revealed SRT Hellcat Demon variants of the Dodge Charger and Challenger.
Then, just like that, the Environmental Protection Agency held a media conference and FCA found its legs kicked out from under it. After Thursday’s accusation of emissions violations (via eight undeclared emissions control devices found on 3.0-liter EcoDiesel models), the automaker finds itself playing defense as controversy grows.
As the EPA’s investigation continues, the U.S. Department of Justice has now opened a criminal probe. Read More >
After a Volkswagen official was collared in Miami while on vacation, other top company officials have been warned to stay close to home.
Oliver Schmidt, who allegedly lied to environmental regulators to cover up VW’s emissions cheating, was arrested by FBI agents Saturday while returning home from a Cuban holiday. According to Reuters, Schmidt, one of six former or current VW managers indicted on multiple charges this week, could face up to 169 years in a U.S. prison if found guilty.
After the FBI’s lucky airport break, a new report suggests top brass in Wolfsburg are feeling penned in. Kiss that winter vacay goodbye. Read More >
Well known as a leading voice in the fight against climate change and a host of other progressive issues, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman now has Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in his sights.
After yesterday’s bombshell announcement from the Environmental Protection Agency, in which the regulator accused FCA of violating federal laws with its 3.0-liter diesel Jeep and Ram models, Scheiderman revealed that his office will investigate the automaker.
A noted environmental attack dog, Schneiderman isn’t the guy you want on your tail. Read More >
The Environmental Protection Agency calls the emissions control devices found on diesel Jeep and Ram vehicles a “clear and serious violation of the Clean Air Act” — something the CEO of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles isn’t very happy about.
In their morning announcement, EPA officials claimed the automaker hasn’t done anything to prove the devices found on 2014-2016 EcoDiesel models aren’t regulator-tricking “defeat devices.” According to Brent Snavely of the Detroit Free Press, Sergio Marchionne is mighty steamed, calling the insinuation of cheating “unadulterated hogwash.”
So, what are these eight auxiliary devices, and what penalty could the automaker face if found in violation of the law? Read More >
The Environmental Protection Agency has accused Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of installing emissions software in 104,000 diesel Rams and Jeeps that violates the Clean Air Act.
According to the regulator, which made its announcement this morning, FCA failed to declare “eight auxiliary emissions control devices” during the EPA certification process. Those devices were installed on 2014, 2015 and 2016 Jeep Grand Cherokee and Ram 1500 vehicles equipped with the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V6 engine.
The regulator has sent a notice of violation to the automaker.
Read More >
The United States has now laid charges against six former or current Volkswagen officials for their role in the diesel emissions scandal.
A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of Michigan returned an indictment today, fingering the execs for playing key roles in a decade-long conspiracy to deceive the U.S. government and public. While five of the men live in Germany, one man — Oliver Schmidt, former head of VW’s regulatory compliance department — was nabbed by the FBI in a Miami airport on Saturday while attempting to return to Germany.
As the charges were handed down, the embattled automaker pleaded guilty to three criminal federal counts and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties. Read More >
A Volkswagen executive who allegedly spent more than a year throwing up smoke screens around the emissions-cheating automaker has been arrested in sunny Florida.
Oliver Schmidt, a former top emissions compliance manager assigned to the U.S., ran defense for the company in the long run-up to the diesel revelations. As allegations mounted and regulators began asking questions, Schmidt and other company officials blamed phony technical problems for the sky-high emissions levels seen during real-world testing.
According to the New York Times, Schmidt, a German national, was nabbed on Saturday and charged by the FBI with conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Read More >
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. Read More >
There’s no shortage of ink spilled about the sky-high murder rate in Chicago, but the Windy City’s most overlooked crime scene isn’t a particular neighborhood or address. It’s the freeway.
In a year where Chicago homicides hit a 20-year high (762, up 57 percent from 2015), shootings on the city’s freeways topped all previous tallies. The city blames the increasing roadway bloodshed on rising gang violence, but the danger to motorists seems likely to rise if authorities can’t figure out a way to stamp out the problem. Read More >
Maybe there is common sense to be found in California.
A driver who was charged for driving under the influence — even though a blood test revealed only caffeine — won’t have to enter a courtroom to plead his innocence. That, a gas station attendant takes the Florida Woman meme and runs with it (into another woman’s car), and Canadian heavy truck drivers just refuse to lower their beds while on the highway. Read More >
Guam, besides having the highest per-capita Spam consumption in the world (16 tins per person, on average), is also home to a recently uncovered fraud scheme that placed high-end vehicles in the driveways of island residents.
On paper, anyway. The unsuspecting residents — over 50 of them, authorities say — had no idea their names were placed next to luxury SUV registrations in the Department of Motor Vehicles database. Read More >
If you were considering stripping your Volkswagen diesel prior to returning it, hit the brakes on that project immediately. VW’s nonspecific wording in the buyback terms created a gray area of legality that a few emissions scandal-affected owners decided to test, removing unessential portions of their 2.0-liter TDI-equipped models.
However, after a particularly thorough set of peelings, a federal judge warned opportunistic owners not to strip parts out of their vehicles before attempting to sell them back to Volkswagen through the company’s emissions settlement. Read More >
After a seemingly endless legal drama, Volkswagen AG has reached an agreement with the U.S. owners of roughly 83,000 emissions-cheating VW, Porsche and Audi vehicles equipped with 3.0-liter diesel engines.
Like the earlier settlement for 2.0-liter defeat device-equipped models, this agreement includes a combination of buybacks, fixes and cash payments. Owners of 2.0-liter models have long since counted their “we’re sorry” money, but these buyers will have to wait just a bit longer before finding out what payment to expect for their premium ride.
It’s not a small sum, apparently. Read More >