Witness told Calfornia
An unnamed witness, referred to in the complaint as "CW1" met with California regulators on Aug. 19, 2015 and "disclosed, in direct contravention of instructions from his management, that certain VW diesel vehicles used different emissions treatment depending on whether the vehicles were on the (testing) dynamometer or on the road, thereby effectively admitting that VW had cheated U.S. emissions tests."
The FBI was not immediately available for comment.
Senior VW officials are not attending this year's Detroit auto show, which is taking place this week.
Lawsuits filed against VW by the New York and Massachusetts state attorneys general accused Schmidt of playing an important role in VW's efforts to conceal its emissions cheating from U.S. regulators, the paper said. Schmidt and other VW officials repeatedly cited false technical explanations for the high emissions levels from the automaker's vehicles, according to the state attorneys general.
20 years at VW
Schmidt began working in Volkswagen engine development in 1997, after receiving a degree in mechanical engineering, from the University of Applied Sciences, in Hanover, Germany.
Throughout his career at Volkswagen, he held various positions in development, marketing, and production -- all within the field of powertrain development.
Schmidt was the Head of Powertrain Product Management, for the VW brand, before moving to the U.S., in March of 2012.
He was then responsible for everything that was related to tailpipe emissions, starting with regulatory, leading to certification and in the end, taking care of the defect reporting, up to 15 years in a cars life.
He made several public appearances in the U.S. in recent years, including the 2012 CAR Management Briefing Seminars in Traverse City, Mich.
Schmidt followed Norbert Krause, who was head of VW's U.S. environmental office until 2009 and who retired from VW in 2011. Krause told Reuters in 2015 that nobody at Volkswagen of America was involved in the process of engineering the manipulated diesel cars.