Ex-VW diesel ex­pert ar­rested

Charges are filed in Ger­many, U.S.

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - BUSINESS & FARM - TOM KRISHER AND KIRSTEN GRIESHABER

BER­LIN — Ger­man prose­cu­tors said Fri­day that they have ar­rested a for­mer em­ployee of the Volk­swa­gen unit Audi in con­nec­tion with the com­pany’s diesel scan­dal.

The Mu­nich prose­cu­tors’ of­fice said the man worked in en­gine de­vel­op­ment in the south­ern Ger­man city of Neckar­sulm and is ac­cused of fraud and un­fair ad­ver­tis­ing.

The prose­cu­tors did not con­firm if the in­di­vid­ual was Gio­vanni Pamio, who was ac­cused Thurs­day by U.S. au­thor­i­ties of giv­ing the or­ders to pro­gram diesel en­gines to cheat on emis­sions tests.

Pamio, 60 and an Ital­ian cit­i­zen, is a for­mer Audi ex­ec­u­tive and based in Neckar­sulm.

He’s the eighth for­mer Volk­swa­gen em­ployee charged in the case that is be­ing in­ves­ti­gated by the FBI and the En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion Agency’s crim­i­nal unit. One of the em­ploy­ees is sched­uled for sen­tenc­ing this month, an­other is in cus­tody in the U.S. and five oth­ers are Ger­man cit­i­zens.

Pamio can be ex­tra­dited to the United States, al­though any Ger­man inves-

tiga­tion would take prece­dence over the U.S. charges.

“Prose­cu­tors won’t agree to an ex­tra­di­tion as long as their own probe here hasn’t been fi­nal­ized,” said Oliver Wal­lasch, a Frank­furt crim­i­nal de­fense lawyer who isn’t in­volved in the case. “Now that they were able to get some­one for them­selves, they’re un­likely to turn around and just ship him to the U.S.”

Even af­ter a Ger­man case, the for­mer man­ager could fight his ex­tra­di­tion and claim he would be pros­e­cuted for the same of­fense twice, as the Ger­man and U.S. in­ves­ti­ga­tors are both look­ing at al­le­ga­tions re­gard­ing U.S. car sales. A sus­pect can file mul­ti­ple ap­peals that may de­lay the process for a year, Wal­lasch said.

Volk­swa­gen has ad­mit­ted that its Volk­swa­gen, Porsche and Audi ve­hi­cles with 2-liter and 3-liter diesel en­gines were pro­grammed to turn pol­lu­tion con­trols on dur­ing

gov­ern­ment tread­mill tests and turn them off while on the road.

The scheme went on for years be­fore be­ing dis­cov­ered in tests con­ducted by West Vir­ginia Univer­sity. The scan­dal has cost Volk­swa­gen more than $20 bil­lion in crim­i­nal penal­ties and law­suit set­tle­ments.

Ac­cord­ing to a crim­i­nal com­plaint filed Thurs­day in Detroit, Pamio faces charges of con­spir­acy, wire fraud and vi­o­lat­ing the Clean Air Act.

The U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said Cleve­land at­tor­ney Terry

Bren­nan was rep­re­sent­ing Pamio.

Bren­nan would not com­ment when reached Thurs­day evening.

The com­plaint said Pamio was head of ther­mo­dy­nam­ics in Audi’s diesel de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment in Neckar­sulm, lead­ing a team of en­gi­neers who de­signed emis­sions con­trols from 2006 through Novem­ber of 2015.

He and other uniden­ti­fied con­spir­a­tors de­ter­mined that it was im­pos­si­ble to cal­i­brate a 3-liter diesel en­gine to meet U.S. ni­tro­gen ox­ide emis­sions

stan­dards within de­sign con­straints im­posed by other VW de­part­ments. So Pamio “directed Audi em­ploy­ees to de­sign and im­ple­ment soft­ware func­tions to cheat the stan­dard U.S. emis­sions tests,” the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said in a state­ment.

Pamio and oth­ers then failed to dis­close the soft­ware and know­ingly mis­rep­re­sented that the en­gines com­plied with U.S. pol­lu­tion stan­dards, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint.

In 2008, en­gi­neers who de­signed the cheat­ing sys­tem

sent a pre­sen­ta­tion to Audi se­nior man­age­ment, in­clud­ing Pamio, that de­tailed it, ac­cord­ing to the com­plaint. That year, sev­eral Audi man­agers con­cluded that the soft­ware was “in­de­fen­si­ble.” An Audi man­ager in 2013 sent an email about dis­cussing the sys­tem with U.S. reg­u­la­tors, but Pamio, the com­plaint stated, ar­gued that dis­clo­sure would be “too risky!”

Volk­swa­gen al­ready has pleaded guilty to crim­i­nal charges and agreed to pay a $2.8 bil­lion penalty.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.