Volkswagen executive tells judge he was “misused” by VW

Enlarge / Volkswagen AG Turbocharged Direct Injection (TDI) vehicles sit parked in a storage lot at San Bernardino International Airport (SBD) at dusk in San Bernardino, California, U.S., on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. Volkswagen agreed last year to buy back about 500,000 diesels that it rigged to pass U.S. emissions tests if it can't figure out a way to fix them. In the meantime, the company is hauling them to storage lots, such as ones at an abandoned NFL stadium outside Detroit, the Port of Baltimore and a decommissioned Air Force base in California. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images (credit: Getty Images)

In a letter to the US federal judge who will sentence him on Wednesday, former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt wrote "I must say that I feel misused by my own company in the diesel scandal or ‘Dieselgate'."

Schmidt is one of the most senior executives to be charged in the diesel emissions scandal that rocked Volkswagen Group in late 2015. The scandal broke when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) accused VW Group of installing illegal software on its diesel vehicles that would suppress the emissions control system while the car was being driven under normal driving conditions, thereby giving the cars better performance.

Schmidt, who was 48 at the time of his arrest, was in charge of emissions compliance for Volkswagen cars sold in the US during the years that VW pushed its "clean diesel" vehicles with emissions-defeating software. In the aftermath of the scandal, Schmidt left VW and returned to Germany, but he was arrested in January while on vacation in Miami. In August, the executive pleaded guilty to two charges: conspiracy to defraud the US government and violate the Clean Air Act, and making a false statement under the Clean Air Act.

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