Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested In Germany Over Diesel Scandal
Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler was arrested on Monday in Germany. The CEO of the German luxury automaker has been arrested in connection with his alleged involvement in the Volkswagen emissions scandal. The German investigators arrested the Audi CEO who was widely considered a subject of the probe but had so far survived the fallout from the scandal despite questions over the VW luxury brand's role.
Speaking about the arrest, Munich prosecutors said that Rupert Stadler, who has worked for Audi parent company Volkswagen since 1990, had been detained because of concerns he could influence witnesses in an ongoing fraud investigation. The prosecutors also said that they have opened a criminal investigation into potential fraud by 20 current or former Audi employees including Stadler. The case is related to suspected emissions cheating in 240,000 diesel cars sold in the United States and Europe.
Though the Volkswagen spokesperson Nicolai Laude confirmed the arrest of Stadler, but declined to comment on the investigation. He said the company's supervisory board would discuss the matter on Monday. According to Nicolai Laude, "The principle of the presumption of innocence continues to apply to Mr. Stadler." The arresting of Rupert Stadler has led to the drop of VW shares by 3 per cent at Frankfurt.
Stadler is the most senior company official to be detained so far since Volkswagen (VW) admitted in September 2015 to using illegal software to rig US emissions tests on diesel engines. However, VW group CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned in the days after the cheating was disclosed, Stadler has remained in post and was this year promoted by new VW boss Herbert Diess in an overhaul aimed at speeding up the group's reforms. VW has set aside around $30 billion to cover fines, vehicle refits and lawsuits since its "dieselgate" scandal broke three years ago, and has announced plans to spend billions more on a shift to electric vehicles as it seeks to rebuild its reputation.
The 55-yearold was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday. "There were clear signs that there was to be an effort to influence people and other suspects. Therefore we issued an immediate arrest warrant," Stephan Necknig, spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office said. However, Audi and VW said Stadler was presumed innocent unless proved otherwise.;
Apart from Stadler, a total of nine people have been charged and two former VW executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms in the matter as most of VW's emissions problems have been in the US. Though, the probes are continuing elsewhere. Last week, German prosecutors fined VW 1 billion euros over the scandal.
Stadler was appointed to Volkswagen's management board in 2010. Stadler's home was searched for evidence as part of an investigation that has been underway for over a year. Prosecutors said Stadler could be released next week if he cooperates with investigators. Other than Stadler, Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive officer of Volkswagen, was indicted last month by US prosecutors. He was charged with wire fraud, and conspiracy to defraud American customers and violate the Clean Air Act, while Matthias Mueller, who was brought in to replace Winterkorn, stepped down earlier this year and was replaced by BMW veteran Herbert Diess.
Herbert Diess addressed the media on appointment by saying that Volkswagen had "lost a great deal of trust," and that it would take years to restore public confidence in the automaker. Diesel cars from Volkswagen and its Audi subsidiary cheated on clean air rules with software that made emissions look less toxic than they actually were.
Stay tuned to V3cars.com for further updates on the VW Dieselgate scandal.;
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