Senior executives at Volkswagen’s (VW) authorized “continued concealment” of emission cheating software despite being briefed about the so-called defeat devices in the summer of 2015, according to unsealed court documents.
VW employees briefed management in July, 2015, about the use of cheat devices to suppress data about fuel emission levels, U.S. prosecutors revealed Monday.
“Rather than advocate for disclosure of the defeat device to US regulators, VW executive management authorized its continued concealment,” the complaint reads.
Oliver Schmidt, the first VW executive to be arrested in connection with the emission scandal Saturday, was allegedly involved in the illicit briefing. Schmidt may not be the only senior executive facing charges, an official with the Department of Justice told reporters.
Schmidt allegedly played a crucial role convincing government regulators that excessive fuel emissions from diesel-powered vehicles were caused by technical issues, not deliberate cheating, according to the California Air Resources Board.
His arrest comes after the New York attorney general’s office filed a lawsuit against VW claiming the company fooled emission regulators for more than a decade.
Democrat AG Eric Scneiderman explained in his lawsuit that one of the company’s former senior executives was among those covering up the illegal activity.
The company kept under lock and key its knowledge about the defeat devices and the complaint stats, for fear it would affect its bottom line.
“VW employees knew that if they had told the truth and disclosed the existence of the defeat device, VW could not have sold any of its diesel vehicles in the United States,” says the criminal complaint.
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