A USA court on Wednesday sentenced former Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt to seven years in prison for his role in the German automaker's "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal.
The judge sentenced Schmidt to five years in prison for the conspiracy count and a consecutive 24 months on the second count.
Oliver Schmidt pleaded guilty in August to charges he conspired to commit fraud and violate the US Clean Air Act.
Along with the seven years in prison, Schmidt was ordered to pay a $400,000 fine.
The "dieselgate" scandal has cost Volkswagen as much as $30bn in fines, buybacks and settlements since 2015 when it admitted fitting 11m diesel vehicles worldwide with so-called defeat devices to suppress emissions of nitrogen oxide during tests.
"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", he said.
Federal Judge Sean Cox rejected defense claims that Schmidt had just "read from a script" provided by his superiors at Volkswagen.
VW auto engineer James Liang was sentenced in August to 40 months in prison and fined $200,000 for his role in the scandal - four months more than prosecutors recommended.
Former Audi executive Giovanni Pamio also remains at large.
VW used sophisticated software to cheat emissions rules on almost 600,000 U.S. vehicles. The software allowed the cars to pass emissions tests under lab conditions, while disabling the emissions-control software under real-world driving conditions so the cars would have better performance.
Schmidt traveled to the USA as the scandal was breaking on a mission to lie to U.S. and Californian authorities so Volkswagen could obtain regulatory approvals to sell 2016 model year diesel vehicles in the United States, according to prosecutors. That summer, A CARB official asked to speak to Schmidt about a discrepancy between VW's emissions numbers from lab testing and real-world emissions numbers from researchers at West Virginia University.
According to a DOJ press release published today, "Schmidt knew that VW's diesel vehicles were not compliant with U.S. standards and regulations and that these representations made to domestic customers were false".
Schmidt was the general manager of Volkswagen's U.S. Environment and Engineering office.
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