Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested over Dieselgate

19 June, 2018, 20:27 | Author: Regina Lloyd
  • Audi A8

German authorities have taken Stadler, chief executive officer of Volkswagen AGs Audi unit, into custody, making his the highest-profile arrest in the group's diesel-cheating probes.

The group also said that an investigation is now ongoing and it is yet to be determined whether Stadler would be remanded following the arrest.

Stadler has denied the accusations and has said he is ready to be interrogated from Wednesday, added the spokesman.

German media chatter, quoted by Greg Kable on Twitter, has suggested the prosecutor suspected Stadler was preparing to meet - and potentially collude - with other Audi executives implicated in the Dieselgate scandal when he was arrested.

Stadler's detention follows a search last week of his private residence, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating the manager on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents. Last month, Audi said it discovered emissions-related problems in an additional 60,000 cars.

However, as Winterkorn remains in Germany U.S. authorities haven't arrested him.

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

"Audi needs a new start", said auto industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the vehicle research centre.

Audi CEO detained in diesel emissions case

Reuters also reports that Audi will appoint an interim CEO while Stadler is being held, citing Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Audi had halted deliveries of A6 and A7s with a certain type of diesel engine after it found a previously unidentified issue with emissions software.

Auto industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the vehicle research centre called the allegations against Stadler "very serious".

CEO Rupert Stadler arrives at Audi's annual general meeting in Neckarsulm, Germany, on May 18, 2017. Shortly after accusations were waged, former chief executive Martin Winterkorn resigned. Investors have accused the company of informing investors too late about the probe, a view the vehicle maker has contested. However, according to multiple reports, the VW board has already made a decision to replace Stadler with its sales chief Abraham Schot. As part of a consent decree approved by the court, VW agreed to form a new division, Electrify America, to build a $2 billion network of fast chargers around the United States, and the Audi plan was rolled into that effort.

But pressure has been mounting on the auto giant to make amends in Europe too.

Last week, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen one billion euros for not supervising the employees who designed the testing software.

In doing so, VW said it admitted its "responsibility for the diesel crisis".

To date, just two people have been convicted over "dieselgate", both in the US. Winterkorn was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in an effort to mislead us regulators about the automaker's diesel emissions cheating.

VW engineer James Liang, who cooperated with investigators, was handed 40 months in jail previous year.




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