Volkswagen's U.S. Emissions Man Nabbed in Florida, Slapped With Conspiracy Charges
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.
As Volkswagen Exec Heads to the Slammer, an Engineer Awaits His Fate
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.
Chicago: Where Crime Scenes Increasingly Have Lane Markers
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.
Freaky Friday: 'Impaired' Caffeine User Gets a Break From California Authorities
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.
Guam Residents Unknowingly 'Owned' Luxury Vehicles in Export Scheme
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.
Freaky Friday: Man Discovers His 2014 Jetta's Street Value is Much Higher Than Blue Book
Have you ever bought a secondhand car, only to find the previous owner forgot his or her favorite CD in the stereo? Well, that didn’t happen to a Kentucky man.
That Volkswagen owner’s discovery is just one of the weird news stories arising from a polar vortex-plagued world. Elsewhere, officials warn of mammal tongue baths, and a politician practices bad automotive PR.
Tesla Flings Cash at 126 Norwegians to Settle Low-horsepower Lawsuit
For a company that prides itself on clean performance, a massive lawsuit and public claims of less-than-advertised power wasn’t great PR.
Tesla just swept an annoying bit of litigation into the dustbin of history by promising a different kind of green to 126 Norwegian owners, all the while claiming it did nothing wrong.
Freaky Friday: Insanely Fast Mustang Impresses Even Cops; Airborne Deer Menace the Eastern U.S.
Being topographically challenged (for the most part), Oklahoma’s highways serve as a great staging ground to find out exactly what your tricked-out Mustang can do. A young man and his police escorts recently discovered this, and even the cops walked away impressed.
Angry, but impressed.
That, and it’s the horniest time of the year for our many venison-laden friends of the forest, which means impressive roadway acrobatics and unplanned feasts…after the break.
$14.7 Billion: With Volkswagen Deal Done, Judge Wants Owners to Stop Asking for More Dough
Is there something in diesel fuel that makes Volkswagen owners feel they’re extra, extra special? They’re clearly a hard bunch to please, as the judge overseeing the automaker’s U.S. diesel emissions settlement is tired of hearing their demands for more, more, more.
After a year of wrangling, District Court Judge Charles Breyer has approved the $14.7 billion deal, setting in stone the buyback program and cash settlements to owners and U.S. regulators. Sure, the company’s diesel vehicles pump out up to 40 cars’ worth of pollution each, but how much cash are owners expecting to collect?
Ex-employee Sues Tesla, Claims Age Discrimination Led to Firing
A materials engineer fired by Tesla Motors earlier this year is suing the automaker, claiming that his age led to the dismissal.
The discrimination suit filed by Thomas Flessner, 69, paints a picture of a Logan’s Run-like corporate atmosphere that values youth above all else, Fusion reports. It’s the latest in a steady stream of complaints about the youth-focused culture within the tech industry.
U.S. Pondering a Criminal Fine That Stops Just Short of Killing Volkswagen: Report
How much can we chop away while keeping the body alive?
The U.S. Justice Department’s plans for Volkswagen’s criminal fine is like a horror movie, only with corporate finances playing the role of a writhing human subject.
According to two sources close to the negotiations, the DOJ wants to extract as much monetary lifeblood from the automaker as possible, while keeping the company afloat, Bloomberg reports.
Audi Tech Boss Leaves Company as Heat Rises on Ex-VW CEO Winterkorn
After German media reported his suspension last week, Audi announced today technical development boss Stefan Knirsch is stepping down and leaving the automaker.
The executive, who sat on Audi’s management board, found himself caught up in the investigation surrounding Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal. Meanwhile, a German newspaper claims that newly discovered documents show ex-Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn mislead U.S. authorities before the scandal broke.
Audi CEO Could Be in the Clear After Emissions Probe Grilling
Despite witnesses claiming Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was involved in the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the law firm investigating the company has reportedly found no evidence to support the claim.
According to company sources, U.S. law firm Jones Day found nothing that suggests the company chairman had any prior knowledge of the brand’s rigged diesel engines, Reuters reports.
Volkswagen Sets a New German Record (for Investor Lawsuits)
It’s not the podium an automaker wants to find itself on top of.
After marking the first anniversary of its emissions debacle, former “clean diesel” builder Volkswagen finds itself staring down the barrel of $9.15 billion in investor lawsuits, the Wall Street Journal reports.
When it comes to being sued by investors, no German company can match Volkswagen’s performance.
Audi Chief Knew About Defeat Device, Say Witnesses, as Automaker Suspends Tech Boss
Who knew what, and when? That’s what investigators at U.S. law firm Jones Day plan to find out when it puts Audi chief Rupert Stadler on the hot seat in its investigation of the Volkswagen diesel scandal.
According to a report in Germany’s Der Spiegel, witnesses at the company claim Stadler knew about the diesel deception as early as 2010, Bloomberg reports.
The news comes as another German publication reports the suspension of Audi technical development boss Stefan Knirsch.