Head of VW's Audi arrested in Germany over 'dieselgate’

18 Jun 2018


German authorities on Monday arrested Rupert Stadler, chief executive of Volkswagen Group’s luxury arm Audi, the most senior company official to be detained so far after the carmaker’s emissions test cheating scandal came to the surface.

Rupert Stadler

His arrest comes a month after prosecutors in Munich extended their probe into Audi and almost three years after the diesel scandal broke and VW admitted in September 2015 to using illegal software to cheat US emissions tests on diesel engines.
While the prosecutors have not alleged any role by Stadler, the Audi CEO is being held due to fears he might hinder their investigation into the scandal.
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.
The United States filed criminal charges against VW’s former CEO Martin Winterkorn in May, but he is unlikely to face US authorities because Germany does not extradite its nationals to countries outside the European Union.
Stadler’s arrest at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday, however, is not connected with any US demand, German prosecutors said.
“As part of an investigation into diesel affairs and Audi engines, the Munich prosecutor’s office executed an arrest warrant against Mr Professor Rupert Stadler on June 18, 2018,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
The arrest followed an order by a judge in Germany that Stadler be remanded in custody, to prevent him from obstructing or hindering the diesel investigation, it said.
Stadler has been under fire after Audi too admitted in November 2015 that it also installed illegal “defeat device” software to cheat US emissions tests.
Audi and VW, however, said Stadler was presumed innocent unless proved otherwise.

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