Investigators are concerned the Audi CEO will try to suppress potential evidence connected to the emissions cheating.
Several years on, Volkswagen is still facing repercussions over its notorious dieselgate scandal. Just last week, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler became one of 20 new suspects accused of fraud and false advertising linked to the scandal. As part of a German police probe, his apartment was raided in search of potential audience. Now the investigation has intensified, as Automotive News reports the Audi boss has been arrested because investigators are worried there’s a risk he could suppress evidence connected to the diesel emissions cheating.
"The suspect has been seen by a judge, who has ordered him to be remanded in custody," the prosecutors' office said in a statement. VW and Audi confirmed Stadler’s arrest, but emphasized there’s still a presumption of innocence for his case. Stadler, who has served as Audi’s CEO since 2010 and chief financial officer since 2007, has continuously denied any wrongdoing in the dieselgate emission manipulation scandal. Another Audi board member, Bernd Martens, was also named as a key suspect by the Munich public prosecutor's office.
According to German media, evidence obtained during questioning with other former Audi officials links Stadler with possible diesel emission manipulation from 2012 onwards. The news comes just a few days after VW was fined a hefty one billion Euros for emissions cheating. If Stadler is charged, he will become the second senior VW executive to be prosecuted on diesel emission cheating charges after former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged with conspiracy to defraud the US government and customers, wire fraud, and conspiracy to violate the Clean Air Act.