Volkswagen Exec Could Get 169 Years; Top Managers Warned Not to Go on Vacation

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
volkswagen exec could get 169 years top managers warned not to go on vacation

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.

Sources inside the company and in the legal world tell Reuters that top-ranking managers at Volkswagen headquarters have been warned not to leave the country. With informants piling up in the U.S., the obvious fear is that Johnny Law could be waiting on the tarmac. Authorities in other countries could extradite the employees to the U.S.

An unnamed company lawyer claims Schmidt, who is being held without bail, was among the managers warned not to stray outside German borders.

Five of the six officials indicted by a U.S. federal court remain in Germany, but the no-fly warning also extends to several employees not facing charges. The first VW employee arrested in the U.S., engineer James Liang, apparently sang like a canary, and is still helping Department of Justice and FBI investigators. That likely led to the charges against the others.

For Schmidt, the eleven felony counts could lead to an “effective life sentence,” one Justice Department official said.

Suspiciously, only a single VW executive appeared at the recent Detroit auto show. Volkswagen brand chief Herbert Diess, who joined the company shortly before the scandal became public, arrived in Detroit alone — a move an unnamed senior VW manager called “bold.”

Earlier this week, VW pleaded guilty to three felony charges and agreed to pay a $4.3 billion civil and criminal settlement.

[Image: Wikimedia Commons ( CC BY 3.0)]

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  • Voyager Voyager on Jan 15, 2017

    Ask the Germans to extradite Winterkorn. Has FCA CEO Marchionne set foot on American soil for the Detroit Auto Show?

  • Kmoney Kmoney on Jan 15, 2017

    169 years, reduced to 'time served' for the car ride to the airport until his attorney got him ROR'd. It's America, white-collar criminals don't get meaningful jail sentences...

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