Six Volkswagen high-ranking Volkswagen employees are now facing a variety of charges for their alleged roles in the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal, and there are signs of them attempting to cover up the misdeeds, according to Bloomberg. Evidence gathered by authorities in the U.S. reportedly showed that the execs discussed the cheating and agreed not to say anything public about it. Some of them also allegedly destroyed evidence of the defeat devices.
According to Bloomberg, executives and engineers began deleting emails and destroying documents about the case after on August 19, 2015, an employee told investigators that workers knew about the emissions cheat.
The plan to get around emissions standards in the U.S. began in 2006 when VW decided that it wanted to sell more diesel vehicles in the country, according to Bloomberg. Engineers were unable to create a compliant engine that would also work for customers, and they came up with a plan to cheat the system.
Heinz-Jakob Neusser, Jens Hadler, Richard Dorenkamp, Bernd Gottweis, Oliver Schmidt, and Jürgen Peter face a charge each of conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to defraud the automaker’s U.S. customers, and violation the Clean Air Act. Dorenkamp, Neusser, Schmidt, and Peter also face face additional Clean Air Act violations. Plus, Neusser, Gottweis, Schmidt and Peter have a charge of wire fraud, too.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Schmidt on January 7, in Miami, Florida, while we was visiting the U.S. Prosecutors believe the rest of the defendants are in Germany.
On January 11, VW plead guilty to several charges, including conspiracy to defraud the United States, obstruction of justice, and Clean Air Act violations. The company agreed to pay a $4.3 billion settlement and three years of oversight be an independent monitor.
The new charges came in addition to VW’s $14.7-billion settlement with the U.S. government to settle the cheating with its 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. Over $10 billion of that amount was to buy back affected owners’ vehicles. Separately, the firm agreed to re-purchase models with the 3.0-liter TDI V6 engine and pay a $225-million fine.