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Volkswagen senior manager Oliver Schmidt sentenced to 7 years

Behind the Volkswagen scandal
Behind the Volkswagen scandal 04:55

A Volkswagen senior manager has been sentenced to seven years in a U.S. prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Lawyers spent roughly 90 minutes giving different views about Oliver Schmidt's culpability in the scandal. But Judge Sean Cox sided with prosecutors, calling Schmidt a "key conspirator" who viewed the cover-up as an opportunity to "shine" and "climb the corporate ladder."

In this handout provided by the Broward Sheriff's Office, Oliver Schmidt, an executive for Volkswagen, poses in this undated booking photo. Schmidt was arrested January 7, 2017 in Florida. Broward Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

Schmidt led VW's engineering and environmental office in Michigan from 2012 to early 2015. He met with key California regulators in 2015 but didn't disclose the rogue software. The government says he later misled U.S. investigators and destroyed documents.

Schmidt's lawyers argued that his role only heated up in 2015, years after others at VW hatched the scheme.

VW pleaded guilty as a corporation in March and agreed to pay billions of dollars in fines.

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