The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested a Volkswagen AG executive on charges of conspiracy to defraud the U.S.
Oliver Schmidt, who headed the company’s regulatory compliance office in the U.S. from 2014 to march 2015, was arrested on Saturday by federal investigators in Florida.
Two people with adequate knowledge of the arrest told news men on Sunday,
The conspiracy charge will escalate a criminal investigation into the automaker’s diesel emissions cheating scandal.
In a statement by Jeannine Ginivan, a spokeswoman for Volkswagen, said that the automaker “continues to cooperate with the Department of Justice” but that “it would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personnel matters.”
Schmidt is expected to be brought before the court on Monday,
Schmidt had continued to represent Volkswagen after the company admitted in September that cars were programmed to dupe regulators. He appeared before a committee of the British Parliament in January, telling legislators that Volkswagen’s behavior was not illegal in Europe.
A South Korean court convicted an executive of the company’s local unit on Jan. 6 for document fabrication, obstruction of work and the violation of an environment law.
Volkswagen U.S. and the FBI were not immediately available for comment