Audi CEO Rupert Stadler taken into custody over Dieselgate

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler taken into custody over Dieselgate

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler taken into custody over Dieselgate

The chief executive of Audi, the luxury automaker owned by Volkswagen, was arrested Monday on suspicion of fraud in relation to the German auto maker's emissions-cheating scandal.

Mark Clothier, a spokesman for Audi, confirmed the arrest and declined to comment further, because the investigation is ongoing.

Stadler was CEO of Audi when it admitted to being a part of Dieselgate, yet he held he position in the years that followed.

The public prosecutor's office said that it was investigating 20 suspects, and that it had raided apartments of Stadler and another board member last Monday.

Prosecutors in the Bavarian state said the arrest was justified because of the "risk of concealment of evidence".

In September 2015 Volkswagen, the parent company of Audi, first admitted to fitting devices to its cars to cheat diesel emissions tests.

"Audi needs a new start", said auto industry expert Ferdinand Dudenhoeffer of the vehicle research centre. Wolfgang Hatz, a former VW manager who joined Audi unit in 2001 and from 2007 to 2011 ran VW's motor development, remains in custody in Munich. Oliver Schmidt, VW's emissions compliance executive in the United States, was arrested in Florida last year, and later sentenced to seven years in prison.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrives to the company's annual shareholders meeting in Ingolstadt, Germany May 9, 2018.

But Dudenhoeffer said that may change, given the "very serious" allegations against him.

The prosecutors had earlier charged the Audi boss for "falsification of documents" that allowed diesel vehicles - fitted with cheating software - to be sold to European customers, according to a local media report. Last week, German prosecutors fined VW 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) over the scandal.

But the saga has cast a wider pall over Germany's vaunted vehicle industry, with suspicions of emissions manipulation spreading to rivals BMW and Mercedes-owned Daimler. Winterkorn was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in an effort to mislead USA regulators about the automaker's diesel emissions cheating.

Related news