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The U.S. government has described a 10-year conspiracy begun by Volkswagen employees as soon as they realized they couldn’t meet new U.S. emissions standards. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

(Bloomberg) – A veteran Volkswagen AG engineer pleaded guilty to conspiring to defraud U.S. regulators and customers, the first criminal charge in the Justice Department’s year-long investigation into the company’s rigging of federal air-pollution tests.

The engineer, James Liang, who entered his plea in Detroit federal court on Friday, is cooperating with the investigation, increasing pressure on higher-ranking officials of the company. His lawyer said that Liang was “one of many at Volkswagen” involved in the scheme.

 

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