U.S. judge orders Volkswagen executive held until emissions case trial till 2018

by SpeedLux
Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt

A federal judge in Detroit last week ordered that a Volkswagen executive charged in the company’s emissions scandal be detained up until his trial set for January 2018, agreeing with prosecutors that the German national represented a flight threat.

Oliver Schmidt, who was chief of automaker’s environmental and engineering center located in Michigan, and has been held since January when he was detained in Miami attempting to go back to Germany. Schmidt is one of 7 present and previous executives charged in the U.S. emissions investigation.

“The allegations of fraud and conspiracy in this case are very, very severe,” stated Judge Sean Cox of the U.S. District Court for Eastern Michigan. “There is a severe risk that Mr. Schmidt will not appear in this case.”

This month, Volkswagen pleaded guilty to 3 felony counts under a plea agreement to fix U.S. charges it set up secret software in automobiles to beat emissions tests.

The judgment on Thursday came regardless of pleas from family and friends, consisting Schmidt’s parents, who offered a combined $1.6 million in possessions such as property and money to pay his bail.

The defense had asked that Schmidt, who showed up in court in handcuffs and a fluorescent orange prison one-piece suit, be confined to his home and use a GPS tracking gadget.

Defense attorney David DuMouchel stated Schmidt had been open about his travel plans to the United States prior to his arrest, regardless of understanding he could be charged.

“This is barely the action of somebody who was aiming to avoid the jurisdiction” of the United States,” DuMouchel stated. “All he needed to do was stay home.”

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