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On the death of the ‘rogue engineer’

Tom Fox | January 13, 2017

While the short-lived term ‘rogue engineer’ was initially coined in 2015, it really came to the fore in the past year as Volkswagen management tried to claim it was unaware of the defeat device installed in its diesel line of automobiles. Much like those forlorn commentators who claim that corporations should not be punished for the acts of a ‘rogue employee’; the claim that some lowly engineer came up with the idea and then implemented an illegal device to hide excessive pollution is worse than laughable.

This past week, six Volkswagen executives were criminally charged for their role in the defeat device. For The Man from FCPA, the most interesting thing about these indictments were not that ‘rogue engineers’ were charged but that executives who participated in the cover-up were indicted. One, Oliver Schmidt, was inane enough to travel to the United States where he was promptly arrested when U.S. official determined he had traveled into their jurisdiction. For his...

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