The US Justice Department announced that a Senior Manager of Volkswagen USA pled guilty in Federal Court today to charges of Criminal Conspiracy against the US Government; Wire Fraud; and Violations of the Clean Air Act. Five other VW executives are on trial in absentia for roughly the same offenses; but are believed to have fled to Germany.
Oliver Schmidt, a German national, was arrested earlier this year after investigators discovered that Volkswagen diesel engines were being equipped with an emissions detection software that also detected emissions testing equipment and falsified the results. The investigation that Schmidt was behind this scheme and that knowingly misrepresented VW engines to Federal and State regulators. The DOJ estimated that unwitting consumers lost around $150 million.
Whatever objections many may have with the EPA, CARB, and the Clean Air Act in general, it certainly doesn't justify foreign corporations coming here and violating laws that American corporations have to follow. Schmidt's actions were obviously designed to gain unfair competitive advantages over domestic producers.
For its part, Volkswagen is employing the leverage of its considerable US advertising clout to keep the Corporate Media from reporting the scandal. The Justice Department, however, has issued a warrant for a manager of Audi, and believe that VW, Audi, and Porsche were all equipping diesel vehicles with the same illegal software. Giovanni Pamio of Audi was arrested in Munich and is awaiting extradition to the US on the same charges as Schmidt. The official narrative is, however, is that this was the handiwork of "a few rogue engineers." Yet, behind the scenes, VW has agreed to pay over $4 billion in federal fines.
Hopefully this will lead to import bans against these companies. The EU countries rarely ever face any consequences for these kinds of behaviors and it is time for that to change. While the Deep State was swift to impose embargoes and sanctions on other countries, EU offenders are usually given a fine and the whole affair swept under the rug.
This policy seems to be changing under Trump. European media pundits are genuinely shocked that the US is throwing their executives in jail and Volkswagen's official reports to European stock exchanges indicate that they didn't expect much more than a slap on the wrist. No wonder the Elites over there hate Trump. They don't get the wink and a nod that they've gotten under previous administrations.
The clear message that Trump and Sessions are sending here is that if Corporate CEOs want to play in the 'swamp', they're going to get drained along with the rest.