Volkswagen paid huge government penalties in the U.S., but virtually nothing in Europe. Two things now seem clear: Some very senior officials knew of the wrongdoing — and they’re not likely to face meaningful prison time. This article was co-published with Fortune. On Dec. 6, former Volkswagen engineer Oliver Schmidt was led into a federal courtroom in Detroit in handcuffs and leg irons. He was wearing a blood-red jumpsuit, his head shaved, as it always is, and his deep-set eyes seemed to ask, “how did I get here?” As Schmidt’s wife tried to suppress tears in a second-row pew, U.S. District Judge Sean Cox sentenced him to what, had it been imposed in Schmidt’s native Germany, would rank among the harshest white collar...
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How VW Paid $25 Billion for Dieselgate — And Got Off Easy