German authorities have arrested Audi’s current CEO on possible evidence tampering connected to the Dieselgate scandal.
Breaking news in German prosecutors’ ongoing investigation of Volkswagen Group subsidiary Audi this morning. Rupert Stadler, CEO and Chairman of Management, was detained by German authorities, according to a statement released earlier this morning. Munich prosecutors stated he was arrested due to concerns over possible evidence tampering related to the ongoing Dieselgate scandal.
Stadler’s arrest comes a few days after German courts hit Volkswagen Group with a 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) fine, on top of the $4.3 billion Volkswagen paid to settle with the U.S. government. Audi admitted last month that it had fitted 60,000 A6 and A7 models with emissions defeat devices. That comes in addition to Audi recalling 850,000 cars last year, some of which the company had to modify as a result of the defeat software.
Stadler will face questioning Wednesday
Currently, Stadler is in German police custody, where he’ll face questioning on Wednesday after conferring with his lawyers, according to a CNN Money report. Nicolai Laude, a Volkswagen spokesperson, confirmed that German authorities arrested Stadler, but declined to comment further. “The principle of the presumption of innocence continues to apply to Mr. Stadler.”
A U.S. federal court indicted Martin Winterkorn, former Volkswagen CEO, last month on charges of wire fraud and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. in relation to violating the Clean Air Act. To date, Volkswagen has admitted to fitting around 11 million diesel-powered cars with emissions defeat devices. The software embedded within the cars’ computers could detect when it was undergoing emissions testing. During that process, it could cut emissions to acceptable levels. However, when the cars were out on the open road, they would emit up to 40 times as much nitrous oxide as determined under lab conditions.