The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested a Volkswagen executive on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
Oliver Schmidt, who headed the automaker’s regulatory compliance office in the United States from 2014 to March 2015, was detained on Saturday by investigators in Florida, the New York Times stated, mentioning individuals knowledgeable about the matter.
Volkswagen confessed in September 2015 to setting up secret software called “defeat devices” in 475,000 U.S. 2.0-liter diesel automobiles to cheat exhaust emissions tests and make them look cleaner in testing. Despite its actual performance, that the automobiles gave off approximately 40 times the lawfully allowed pollution levels.
Volkswagen refused to discuss the reported arrest.
“Volkswagen continues to cooperate with the Department of Justice as we work to solve remaining matters in the United States. It would not be appropriate to discuss any continuous investigations or to talk about personnel matters,” it stated.
The FBI was not available for remark.
Schmidt is anticipated to be brought in the past court in Detroit on Monday, the report stated.
Senior Volkswagen authorities are not attending this year’s Detroit auto show, which is occurring this week.
The news comes as Volkswagen was getting close to a deal to solve criminal and civil accusations over its diesel cheating, important steps towards moving past the scandal, which has cost it billions of dollars and its credibility.