James Liang, who pleaded guilty to charges relating to VW’s use of emissions cheating devices last year, has been sentenced to 40 months in prison in the US and fined $200,000 (£155,000). He was VW’s head of diesel competence in the USA.
US District Judge Sean Cox said the sentence is less than the allowable maximum as a result of Liang co-operating with investigators and prosecutors.
“This is a serious crime and involved a massive fraud upon the American consumer,’’ Cox said. “Cooperation or regret doesn’t excuse your conduct.” However, Cox also highlighted that Liang was not the mastermind behind the plot, despite being involved in trying to hide the presence of the device during early meetings with legislators.
During proceedings Liang told prosecutors that he hid the deception because he enjoyed a high salary of $250,000 (£194,000) a year, as well as living in a large home in Southern California.
So far, eight VW executives have been charged with criminal offences for their alleged roles in the scheme. Around 11 million cars globally were fitted with the cheat devices.
VW has so far been hit with fines and costs associated with fixes totalling more than $24 billion (around £19bn) in the USA.