Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in diesel scandal investigation

Munich prosecutors who have been investigating Audi’s role in the 2015 scandal confirmed they arrested Rupert Stadler in the Bavarian capital Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in diesel scandal investigation
Nellie Chapman | 21 June, 2018, 17:12

His arrest comes at a time when Volkswagen's new group CEO Herbert Diess is trying to introduce a new leadership structure, which includes Stadler, to speed up a shift towards electric vehicles in the wake of its "dieselgate" troubles.

Audi AG confirmed the arrest in an email and pointed out that Stadler is innocent until proven guilty, declining to comment further.

And The Associated Press reports that Stadler, who has spent almost 30 years working for Audi, is under investigation for "fraud and indirect improprieties with documents".

The Munich prosecutor's office issued the warrant Monday for Stadler.

Volkswagen and Audi admitted in 2015 it used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests.

Ever since 2016, German prosecutors searched the homes of several current and former Audi employees in connection with the diesel emissions cheating scandal.

The diesel scandal has so far cost the VW group more than 25 billion euros ($29 billion) in buybacks, fines and compensation, mainly in the United States where the cheating scam was first uncovered.

The scandal emerged in September 2015 when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) filed charges against VW for equipping its diesel cars from 2009 through 2016 with "defeat devices"-software designed purposefully to trick federal emissions tests". In May, the carmaker admitted to German regulators that roughly 60,000 A6 and A7 sedans had emissions software irregularities, using a different software than the one responsible for Dieselgate.

The case also put a spotlight on European emissions standards, which are less stringent about nitrogen oxide and tougher on emissions of carbon dioxide, which is said to lead to global warming. The 56-year-old executive was named to Audi's management board last year, long after the scandal erupted.

Confirming the development, a spokesperson said: "We confirm that Mr Stadler was arrested this morning". However both US and German authorities have arreested several engineers including Porsche engine and development chief Wolfgang Hatz.

Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive officer of Volkswagen, was indicted in May by United States prosecutors. Prosecutors have accused Stadler of being involved in controverting emissions regulations since 2012. Two managers are serving prison terms in the US.