Published: Thu, June 21, 2018
Business | By Kate Woods

Audi CEO arrested in Germany over diesel scandal

Audi CEO arrested in Germany over diesel scandal

German authorities have detained the chief executive of Volkswagen's Audi division, Rupert Stadler, as part of a probe into manipulation of emissions controls.

The allegations being levelled against him infer that Stadler, the most senior VW executive so far to be arrested in the wake of the Dieselgate scandal, knew of the software-based defeat devices as early as 2015, yet continued to allow the brand's cars to be sold.

Last month, Audi admitted that another 60,000 A6 and A7 models with diesel engines have emission software issues.

Earlier, Munich prosecutors had told Reuters Stadler was being detained due to fears he might hinder an ongoing investigation into the scandal, plunging VW into a leadership crisis. The executive was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt.

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Stadler's arrest is the latest blow to the Volkswagen group, which has struggled to shake off the dieselgate crisis and continues to face a litany of investigations at home and overseas. At the end of May, authorities named Stadler and Audi board member Bernd Martens as two key suspects among 18 being investigated in the emissions investigation.

VW has set aside around $30 billion to cover fines, vehicle refits and lawsuits since its "dieselgate" scandal broke and has announced plans to spend billions more on a shift to electric vehicles as it seeks to rebuild its reputation.

Despite the controversy, the VW group a year ago reported global sales of 10.7 million vehicles - a new record.

He has been indicted by U.S. authorities but is unlikely to face the charges as Germany doesn't extradite nationals to the US. Two are serving prison terms, while Winterkorn and the others remain in Germany with no indications that they will be extradited to the U.S. Germany is now said to be investigating a total of 50 people in connection to the scandal.

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Winterkorn, 70, was indicted by USA authorities in March, on fraud and conspiracy charges.

Audi and VW confirmed the arrest and reiterated there was still a presumption of innocence for Stadler.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been arrested.

That is on top of the 850,000 recalled past year by Audi, of which only some have been found to require modification. But prosecutors' criminal investigation of Winterkorn and 48 others continues.

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Schot, Audi's head of sales and marketing, joined Volkswagen from Daimler AG in 2011 and has held roles in its commercial vehicles unit.

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