VW group executives face trial for Dieselgate
The wheels of justice turn slowly. That's good news for Wolfgang Hatz, former head of powertrain development for the Volkswagen Group. Less so for Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. According to Autocar, German authorities have released Hatz after he'd been held pending trial for nearly a year now. But as Bloomberg reports, Stadler will remain behind bars for at least another week. Two of the VW group's most senior executives, both Hatz and Stadler were arrested for their involvement in the so-called Dieselgate scandal.
Prosecutors allege that the German automaker installed “cheat” devices designed to detect when their diesel-powered vehicles are being tested for emissions and adjust their engines accordingly. Hatz and Stadler are set to be tried separately for their involvement in the offenses of which they're charged. German law mandates that a suspect can be held for six months pending trial, but prosecutors succeeded in keeping Hatz in custody for longer, fearing that he'd adversely affect the investigation. Stadler, meanwhile, is being held for more questioning.
Both have since been replaced, if only temporarily, pending their legal status. If convicted, they'd be the highest-ranking VW group officers to be punished in the scandal that has already seen the company's environmental chief Oliver Schmidt sentenced to seven years, and its US diesel specialist James Liang sentenced to 40 months.