Former Audi Manager Charged in Connection With Conspiracy to Cheat U.S. Emissions Tests
A former Audi manager has been charged via criminal complaint for his role in the long-running conspiracy to defraud U.S. regulators and customers by implementing software specifically designed to cheat U.S. emissions tests in thousands of Audi “clean diesel” vehicles.
Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Blanco of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jean E. Williams of the Department of Justice’s Environment and Natural Resources Division, and Acting U.S. Attorney Daniel L. Lemisch of the Eastern District of Michigan made the announcement.
Giovanni Pamio, 60, an Italian citizen, is charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., wire fraud, and violation of the Clean Air Act. Pamio was formerly head of Thermodynamics within Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department in Neckarsulm, Germany. According to the complaint, from in or about 2006 until in or about November 2015, Pamio led a team of engineers responsible for designing emissions control systems to meet emissions standards, including for nitrogen oxides (“NOx”), for diesel vehicles in the U.S.
According to the complaint, after Pamio and coconspirators realized that it was impossible to calibrate a diesel engine that would meet NOx emissions standards within the design constraints imposed by other departments at the company, Pamio directed Audi employees to design and implement software functions to cheat the standard U.S. emissions tests. Pamio and coconspirators deliberately failed to disclose the software functions, and they knowingly misrepresented that the vehicles complied with U.S. NOx emissions standards, the complaint alleges.
Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen AG (VW), previously pleaded guilty to three felony counts connected to cheating U.S. emissions standards. The company was ordered to pay a $2.8 billion criminal fine at its sentencing on April 21, 2017.
A complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The FBI and EPA-CID investigated the case. This case is being prosecuted by Securities and Financial Fraud Chief Benjamin D. Singer and Trial Attorneys David Fuhr and Christopher Fenton of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, Senior Trial Attorney Jennifer Blackwell and Trial Attorney Joel La Bissonniere of the Environment and Natural Resources Division’s Environmental Crime Section, and White Collar Crime Unit Chief John K. Neal and Assistant United States Attorney Timothy J. Wyse of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Michigan. The Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs also assisted in the case.