U.S. judge orders Volkswagen executive detained

Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:27pm EST
 
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MIAMI/NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Thursday ordered a Volkswagen executive charged in the Justice Department's diesel emissions investigation held without bail pending trial.

Oliver Schmidt was arrested Saturday at Miami's International Airport as he planned to fly home after a vacation. He was one of six current and former VW executives charged this week in U.S. District Court in Detroit. The other five are in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff ruled Schmidt was a flight risk. His lawyers said they planned to appeal the decision.

The Justice Department also said Schmidt "faces what would be an effective life sentence" if convicted. Schmidt is charged with eleven felony counts, which could be punished by up to 169 years in prison, the government said.

Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE: Quote) agreed to plead guilty and pay $4.3 billion in civil and criminal fines.

(Reporting by Zachary Fagenson in Miami and David Shepardson in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

 
Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt, charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States over the company's diesel emissions scandal is shown in this booking photo in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S., provided January 9, 2017.  Courtesy of Broward County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS