Five other Volkswagen executives have also been charged in an indictment released Wednesday in Detroit. He was arrested at Miami International Airport last Saturday as he planned to fly home after a vacation. Volkswagen pressed to resolve investigations and lawsuits as quickly as possible, while working to fix its reputation with vehicle buyers and dealers.
A Volkswagen executive indicted for the emissions scandal will be staying in jail for a while.
The company itself has now pleaded guilty to a similar array of criminal charges, in a $4.3 billion deal it signed with numerous regulatory agencies this week in the waning days of the current presidential administration.
U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida found that Mr. Schmidt, 48 years old, posed a flight risk given the seriousness of the charges against him and the fact that he was born and lives in Germany. Prosecutors are concerned because if Schmidt were to return to Germany, there would be no way for the U.S.
Mr. Massey said Mr. Schmidt had significant ties to the US, and that seven Florida properties he owns are part of his plan to retire here.
Charles Kuhn, a partner at criminal law firm Hickman & Rose, said people in such a position faced "a harsh choice-voluntarily hand themselves in, or never leave Germany without fear that an worldwide arrest warrant will land them in United States custody anyway".
During that time, the documents say, Schmidt and others actively deceived regulators about the vehicle emissions and he later deleted documents relevant to the subsequent investigation despite company warnings to preserve them.
A high-ranking Volkswagen AG executive indicted in the company's USA emissions scandal is seeking release on bail over the objections of federal prosecutors. "He knows he'd get caught", Massey said as quoted by AFP.
The goal was to educate the company's product developers so Volkswagen could tailor more models to the US market, to meet its goal of selling 800,000 vehicles in the country by 2018.