High-ranking US -based Volkswagen executive, Oliver Schmidt, has been sentenced to seven years in prison and ordered to pay a $400,000 fine for his part in a decadelong diesel-emissions cheating scandal. Of the 500,000 affected vehicles sold in the United States, only 8,757 can be "attributed to Mr. Schmidt's misconduct, " his lawyers argued in the filing.
Schmidt originally faced up to 169 years in prison on 11 felony counts before he entered his guilty plea.
Oliver Schmidt, 48, is the second person to be imprisoned in the U.S. over the diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt in August pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy and violating environmental law for his role in helping Volkswagen evade USA emissions requirements for diesel-powered vehicles.
"I made bad decisions and for that I am sorry", Mr Schmidt said in court on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
Schmidt recently wrote a letter to Judge Cox, claiming he felt "misused" by Volkswagen.
James Liang, a former engineer, was sentenced to more than three years in August. Five of those remain at large.
Volkswagen Group, the umbrella company that owns VW, Audi, and Porsche, has paid about $30 billion in fines and buyback costs since regulators discovered it was including emissions-cheating software on its diesel vehicles.
The software reduced harmful emissions of nitrogen oxide when the cars were being tested, but on the road, the emissions were well over limits to control pollution.
"The defendant has a leadership role within VW", federal officials said.
Schmidt travelled to the U.S. as the scandal was breaking on a mission to lie to USA and Californian authorities so Volkswagen could obtain regulatory approvals to sell 2016 model year diesel vehicles in the United States, according to prosecutors.
"This crime. attacks and destroys the very foundation of our economic system: That is trust", U.S. District Judge Sean Cox of Detroit said in court, according to the outlet.