A former general manager who worked at Volkswagen's U.S Environment and Engineering Office pleaded guilty on Friday this week for being part of a conspiracy to help VW violate the Clean Air Act. Oliver Schmidt, a German citizen, also pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiring to defraud the U.S government. Oliver and five others were indicted on January 11. His sentencing is scheduled for December 6 this year.

Oliver's admissions

Oliver admitted in court that he and others held discussions in the summer of 2015 to find out how they can answer questions the U.S regulator will ask with regards to the emission scandal.

In the meeting, they discussed how they could structure answers without revealing information of the defect devices that were installed in cars the company produces.

Oliver later held a meeting with the California Air Resources Board (CARB) but failed to reveal what he knew about his company's illegal acts. He admitted in court that he failed to tell the CARB that VW was installing software that evaded and cheated on emission tests. He also admitted that in August 2015, VW submitted two fraudulent and misleading reports to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regarding VW's adherence to the Clean Air Act.

He also admitted that VW had in the past sold diesel vehicles to U.S consumers that were environmentally unfriendly and went against laws set by U.S environmental regulators.

He also admitted that he and others caused a loss of $150 million to victims and obstructed justice.

VW emissions scandal

Investigations by the EPA into VW's emissions scandal began in September 2015. The EPA found out that the Volkswagen group violated the Clean Air Act by intentionally installing a program that activated emission controls so that nitrogen dioxide can be undetectable during emission tests.

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The program was installed in 500,000 cars in the U.S as well as in 11 million cars globally between 2009 and 2015. VW was ordered by a federal judge on April 21, 2017, to pay $2.8 billion for the crime after it pleaded guilty.

Five other executives still in court

Six executives of the company including Oliver Schmidt were charged in January this year for their role in the scandal.

They include Jens Hadler, 50, and Richard Dorenkamp, 68, who worked in the engine development department, Heinz-Jakob Neusser, 56, who headed the company's brand, Bernd Gottweis, 69, who oversaw the company's quality management department, and Jurgen Peter, 59, who liaisoned regulatory agencies with the automaker.