Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Audi CEO detained amid diesel emissions investigation

Rupert Stadler Audi CEO arrested in Germany over diesel scandal
Lloyd Bates | 18 June, 2018, 16:45

Stadler has been under fire since Audi admitted in November 2015 - two months after parent VW - that it also installed illegal "defeat device" software to cheat USA emissions tests.

The prosecutors' office last week widened its emissions cheating probe into Volkswagen's luxury brand Audi to include Stadler among the suspects accused of fraud and false advertising.

The so-called dieselgate emissions scandal first came to light in September 2015.

"His arrest is another low point in VW's diesel saga", said Evercore ISI analysts, who have criticized the company for being slow to reform.

Munich prosecutors searched Stadler's private residence last week in their investigation of suspected fraud and indirect improprieties with documents.

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

The arrest of the Audi CEO comes just weeks after Volkswagen tapped a new CEO to move the company past the scandal.

A spokesman for Porsche SE, the company that controls VW and Audi, said Stadler's arrest would be discussed at supervisory board meetings of both VW and Audi on Monday. Herbert Diess was given the top job in April and he said that besides focusing on new technologies, like electric cars, he wanted to build a more open, values-based culture to avoid the cheating that led to the emissions scandal.

Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States and nine managers, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, were charged there. The prosecutors also said that the arrest of Stadler was essential as the investigators saw the risk of him trying to suppress evidence in the diesel emissions probe. Munich prosecutors and Stadler himself were not immediately available for comment.

Volkswagen admitted that almost 600,000 cars sold in the U.S. were fitted with "defeat devices" created to circumvent emissions tests.

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