The timing of the arrest is unusual given the extensive negotiations VW has had with U.S officials on ways to surmount and move past the diesel emission.
The New York Times has reported that the Federal Bureau of Investigation has arrested an executive from Volkswagen AG on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
The NYT stated citing sources familiar with the matter at hand that Oliver Schmidt, who headed VW AG’s regulatory compliance department in the U.S. from 2014 to March 2015, was arrested by FBI agents in Florida.
Volkswagen declined to comment on the reported arrest.
In September 2015, Volkswagen had admitted to installing a software known as “defeat devices” in 475,000 of its 2.0-liter diesel cars in the U.S. which was designed to cheat emissions tests.
“Volkswagen continues to cooperate with the Department of Justice as we work to resolve remaining matters in the United States. It would not be appropriate to comment on any ongoing investigations or to discuss personnel matters,” said VW’s spokesperson.
The FBI was not immediately available for comment.
The NYT has reported that Schmidt is likely to be brought before a Detroit court sometime today.
This year’s Detroit auto show will not be attended by senior VW officials.
The arrest comes at a time when VW is nearing a deal to resolve the civil and the criminal allegations of the diesel-emission cheating scandal. VW is pushing to move past the scandal which has cost it billions in goodwill and in actual physical costs.