FBI arrest the VW executive who stonewalled on the first Dieselgate reports for defrauding the US Government


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/09/fbi-arrest-the-vw-executive-wh.html


#2

If VW's stock tumbles completely off the rails, and it end up going firesale, we should all crowdfund to buy it, then revive it as a DIY, fix-it-yourself-er like the original bug. With modern safety / efficiency and everything, but just the raspberry pi / arduino of cars...


#3

Well I guess you gotta fuck with our cars to get the execs arrested.


#4

Say what now, a suit got arrested? I thought there was something impossible about that!


#5

If the DMCA had sharper teeth, none of this would have happened!


#6

Privilege aside, there's another reason this rarely happens. It's very hard to prove fraud, and the government won't go to court without an ironclad case. That's probably as it should be, since a false positive is much worse than a false negative.

But it sure is annoying when we think their guilt is obvious.


#7

A suit for a foreign company.

Don't worry - the suits at your good old domestic, patriotic American homegrown companies are unaffected by this development.
They'll still be free to exploit, harass, defraud and otherwise abuse you in the same way that they've always done.


#8

Little chance of that. VW's stock is already concentrated in the hands of a few players: the German state of NRW (North Rhine/Westphalia), the Piëch family the two most notable.


#9

But the reasons that fraud is hard to "prove" are also probably steeped in privilege, starting with the fact that "proving" armed robbery and murder can be as easy as leaning on a poor, lawyerless person hard enough to get a false confession, all the way up to lobbying power to write laws with deliberately difficult burdens of proof (with a brief stop at "writing off in-house legal team as a business expense...")


#10

No, that's not the reason. To convict someone of fraud, they have to prove intent. The judge can't read minds, so that takes strong evidence.

It's often possible to say, "woops, programming error" or "accounting error." It's much harder to say, "woops, robbed a bank!"


#11

Then why are all our prisons over half full of people in for "Intent to Distribute?"


#12

Good point.


#13

What will end up happening to Audi, Lamborghini, etc. ? VWG has too many subsidies for it to get that bad


#14

If it wasn't impossible before then it will be on January 20th.


#15

You can get away with "woops" when you can afford an expensive mouthpiece.


#16

Not banks or life savings...


#17

Something just makes me think the FBI is going to be much more aggressive with a non-US citizen executive than a US one.


#18

How did Harry Dresden manage to keep from frying a computer for long enough to post on the Internet?!


#19

And after justice has been served in the US, witness the absolute turmoil over this in Germany:

...

Right, nothing. No effective lawsuits, no damages for owners, no nothing. Too big to fail, as it seems, and you'd've thought that only applied to banks.

signed, a disgruntled VW driver


#20

It would appear that his arrest is one of those 'the coverup, not the crime' situations: the culpability for actually deciding that defeat devices were a good plan, and going ahead with it, appears to be dissolving into the usual morass of civil judgements against the corporation but mysteriously none of the humans and general indecision; but this guy was foolish enough to make statements to regulators that we now know are directly contradicted by internal documents he had access to at the time.

The bar for being important enough to commit a load of crimes and then have it dealt with as a civil matter without judgement against anyone in particular appears to be somewhat lower than the bar for openly lying about what you've been up to. The bar for the latter is still far too low; but it is higher.