A veteran Volkswagen engineer has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud the US government, commit wire fraud, and violate the Clean Air Act in a case related to the Volkswagen Diesel-Gate emissions scandal.
James Robert Liang, is the first Volkswagen employee to face criminal charges in the German automaker's emissions scandal and he could face up to five years in jail and a $250,000 (Rs. 1.67 Crore) fine.
According to the US Department of Justice (DOJ), in exchange for Liang's agreement to cooperate with investigators, the government has agreed not to use new information about Liang's own criminal conduct against him at sentencing.
In the same DOJ report Liang, who held the title ofLeader of Diesel Competence, and his co-conspirators started developing a new EA189 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine in 2006, which would be used in VW diesel vehicles sold in the United States.
However, when the conspirators realized that they would not be able to meet strict US emission norms, they designed and implemented software to recognize whether a vehicle was undergoing standard U.S. emissions testing on a dynamometer or being driven on the road under normal driving conditions (the defeat device), in order to cheat the emissions tests.
The Volkswagen emissions scandal was exposed to the world one year ago in September 2016.