Compliance into the Weeds-Episode 62, Sentencing of VW Employee Oliver Schmidt

by Thomas Fox
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As many of you all know, Matt Kelly can rant with the best of them, right up there with Howard Sklar. I was quite intrigued when I read Matt’s December 11, 2017 blog post entitled, “At What Cost Dishonesty? For VW Exec, Seven Years” as it was one of the most strident blogs I have ever read from Matt. I wondered what had him so exercised over the sentencing of former Volkswagen regulatory compliance engineer Oliver Schmidt. It turns out quite a bit, yet it was in a different way from his blog post. See more +
As many of you all know, Matt Kelly can rant with the best of them, right up there with Howard Sklar. I was quite intrigued when I read Matt’s December 11, 2017 blog post entitled, “At What Cost Dishonesty? For VW Exec, Seven Years” as it was one of the most strident blogs I have ever read from Matt. I wondered what had him so exercised over the sentencing of former Volkswagen regulatory compliance engineer Oliver Schmidt. It turns out quite a bit, yet it was in a different way from his blog post.

In this podcast Matt and I take a deep dive into the compliance weeds to consider Schmidt’s conduct, the sentence and the roles of various parties involved in this unfortunate series of events. We consider at what point Schmidt committed to a path of clearly unethical, immoral and illegal conduct. We explore what it means for a compliance professional to stand up and say this is wrong; whether it be on ethical, moral or legal grounds. In short, what are some of the philosophical underpinnings of the compliance profession and even the compliance psyche?

We also consider the role of the trial judge who laid down the harsh sentence and the role of regulators such as the SEC and EPA in dealing with individual liability for compliance professionals. We discuss the distinguishing factors in this case but conclude that if a Chief Compliance Officer or compliance professional is a part of the illegal conduct, they will be vigorously prosecuted.

In addition to this episode, Matt and I have put together a five-part podcast series where we explore implications of the new revenue recognition standard, which is running this week. Each podcast is short, 11-13 minutes and deals with one topic on the new revenue recognition standard. The schedule for this week is:

Part 1: Introduction

Part 2: What is the logic of your transaction price?

Part 3: Shaking up software revenue recognition.

Part 4: Auditors need to pay attention.

Part 5: What does it all mean for compliance (and everyone else)?

A new episode premieres at 12 noon CST, each day this week.

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