Alexander Sättele, defense attorney for imprisoned Volkswagen manager Oliver Schmidt, said his client was following instructions from VW’s management in the Dieselgate scandal.
In an exclusive interview, Mr. Sättele told Handelsblatt that Mr. Schmidt has become a symbolic figure in criminal investigations into the scandal and was forced to take responsibility for actions beyond his control.
A court in Detroit last week sentenced Mr. Schmidt to seven years in jail, as well as imposing a fine of $400,000. The former head of VW’s American environment and engineering office pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud, wire fraud and violations of the Clean Air Act. The FBI arrested the 48-year-old VW executive while he was visiting the United States to celebrate his birthday in January.