BREAKING: U.S. Volkswagen Engineer Charged in Diesel Probe

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
breaking u s volkswagen engineer charged in diesel probe

A criminal charge has been laid in the U.S. Justice Department’s probe into the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal.

A Volkswagen engineer pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges in a U.S. District Court in Detroit today, Reuters reports.The veteran engineer, identified as James Liang, pleaded guilty and entered a plea agreement. A DOJ spokesperson says part of the agreement includes having the engineer assist the government’s investigation into the automaker’s emissions cheating.

Liang, 62, has worked for the automaker since 1983 and was reportedly part of the team that developed the defeat device-equipped diesel engines. He left Germany to work for Volkswagen’s U.S. operations in 2008, around the time that the emissions-cheating 2.0-liter TDI models were being readied for sale.

Liang is charged with conspiracy to commit fraud against U.S. regulators and customers, and could face five years in prison. The indictment alleges that Liang conspired with past and current engineers to mislead government regulators. The engineer is reportedly cooperating with authorities, which now puts the heat on executives at the company.

According to Reuters, charges were laid against Liang in June, but the indictment was only made public today.

Volkswagen has already agreed to spend up to $16.5 billion to compensate U.S. owners and environmental regulators, as well as settle some state-level fines. A total of 475,000 2.0-liter diesel models are subject to a buyback program in the U.S.

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  • DearS DearS on Sep 09, 2016

    If VW execs don't get the same kind of treatment I'll do my best to never buy a VW product again.

  • Mchan1 Mchan1 on Sep 09, 2016

    Work out a deal that involves No jail time then sing like a bird and squeal like a pig. He should make sure that he has enough in his retirement savings because not many German companies may hire someone for speaking out against his former employer. Maybe he actually has some sort of conscience hence why he did the deal, in addition to not wanting to get any jail time. Maybe some of VW's management will get busted!

  • Jimbob457 Jimbob457 on Sep 09, 2016

    I must say on general principles that this elderly company man will probably say nein to the foolish threat of a five year jail sentence.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Sep 11, 2016

    We need to figure out a way to jail corporations....if they are indeed people. I feel for the poor bastard who was last in the signature line. Oh well...massive torque, 40 mpg WAS too good to be true. I liked my TDi quite a bit.

    • DukeGanote DukeGanote on Sep 11, 2016

      The jails aren't big enough. Corporations are undead Frankenstein monsters who stomp among us like the Martian machines from War of the Worlds. IMHO.