Volkswagen exec to plead guilty in U.S. diesel scandal

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A Volkswagen logo is seen on the front of a Volkswagen vehicle at a dealership in Carlsbad, California, April 29, 2013. REUTERS/Mike Blake (Copyright Reuters 2013)

Jailed Volkswagen executive Oliver Schmidt will plead guilty to charges related to the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal in the U.S., according to a court spokesperson in Detroit.

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Schmidt, former manager of a VW engineering office in suburban Detroit, will appear in federal court on Aug. 4. His lawyers disclosed the plan during a brief conference with a judge, spokesman David Ashenfelter said.

Schmidt is one of many VW employees charged in a scheme to cheat emission rules on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles, but most are in Germany and out of reach of U.S. authorities. He's been in custody since January when he was arrested while on vacation in Miami before he could return to Germany.

VW admits using software to get around diesel emission standards. Schmidt is charged with conspiracy and fraud. He's accused of lying to U.S. regulators by saying technical problems - not sneaky software - were to blame for the difference in emissions in road and lab tests.

U.S. District Judge Sean Cox refused to release Schmidt on bond, saying he might flee.

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VW pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay $4.3 billion in criminal and civil penalties, on top of billions more to buy back cars.

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Volkswagen also faces new allegations that it participated in anti-competitive behavior with German auto rivals Daimler and BMW. The European Union is looking into the claims, which first surfaced in a report from newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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