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Volkswagen senior manager gets 7 years in U.S. prison

FILE - This January 2017 file photo provided by the Broward County Sheriff's Office shows German Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt. Prosecutors are seeking a seven-year prison sentence for Schmidt, a Volkswagen senior manager who pleaded guilty in the automaker's U.S. diesel emissions scandal. Schmidt will be sentenced Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2017 in Detroit federal court. (Broward County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

DETROIT - A Volkswagen senior manager has been sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Lawyers spent roughly 90 minutes giving different views about Oliver Schmidt's culpability in the scandal.

But Judge Sean Cox sided with prosecutors, calling Schmidt a "key conspirator" who viewed the cover-up as an opportunity to "shine" and "climb the corporate ladder."

Schmidt led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015.

He met with key California regulators in 2015 but didn't disclose the rogue software.

Prosecutors say Schmidt concealed the software tricks to California regulators while offering "bogus" explanations of any differences in emissions.

The government says he later misled U.S. investigators and destroyed documents.

Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines.


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