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A federal judge sentenced a former Volkswagen executive to 7 years in prison Wednesday for his role in a massive emissions-cheating scandal.

Oliver Schmidt, a German national who was the general manager in charge of VW's environmental and engineering office in MI, had pleaded guilty to his part in the cover-up and argued he was "misused" by VW in its attempts to circumvent USA emissions tests.

Alongside the sentence Schmidt was fined $400,000.

Judge Cox earlier this year sentenced Volkswagen Engineer James Liang to 40-months in prison.

Instead, Schmidt was sentenced to the maximum penalties outlined in the plea deal. First revealed in September 2015, the firm illegally manipulated software on its cars to artificially lower nitrous oxide emissions under test conditions.

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It said Schmidt oversaw emissions at the MI office from 2012 to early 2015, and did not disclose the cheat software during a meeting with California regulators in 2015. As VW Group rolled out its massive "clean diesel" marketing campaign appealing to environmentally conscious auto buyers, those same cars were actually emitting nitrogen oxide (NOx) many times in excess of the legal limit.

As the general manager of Volkswagen's engineering and environmental office in Michigan, Schmidt was responsible for the company's relationship with California's regulatory agency and reportedly fed federal regulators false information.

Volkswagen senior manager Oliver Schmidt has been sentenced to seven years in a US prison for concealing software that was used to evade pollution limits on almost 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Germany's largest automaker is recovering from the emissions crisis that prompted its then-CEO, Martin Winterkorn, to resign in September of 2015 after nearly a decade at the company's helm.

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