Audi CEO arrested - Volkswagen

Rupert Stadler’s is the highest-profile arrest in the Volkswagen group’s diesel-cheating probes

Rupert Stadler’s is the highest-profile arrest in the Volkswagen group’s diesel-cheating probes

German police have detained the chief executive of carmaker Audi as part of the diesel emission cheating scandal that has rocked the Volkswagen group for the past two years.

The emissions scandal dates back to September 2015 when VW admitted using illegal software to cheat U.S. emissions tests on diesel engines. A month later, Audi would announce that it had discovered "engine management irregularities" in about 60,000 V6 diesel versions of the A6 sedan and A7 fastback saloon sold globally.

Stadler's arrest at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday, however, is not connected with any USA demand, German prosecutors said.

A spokesperson for Volkswagen confirmed his arrest to Reuters, saying, "We confirm that Mr Stadler was arrested this morning". The prosecutors' office said that Stadler had been seen by a judge "who has ordered him to be remanded in custody".

Last month, US prosecutors charged Winterkorn, 70, with conspiracy and wire fraud in relation to the diesel emissions case. Around 11 million vehicles from Audi are allegedly fitted with the emission manipulation devices.

Last year, Audi made the extraordinary decision of swapping out five of its seven senior executives, including four all at once in September, and yet Stadler emerged once more unscathed.

A court hearing to determine whether Stadler would remain in jail was ongoing, the company said, adding that it wouldn't comment further due to the ongoing investigation. The software would turn off these various functions when the vehicle was being driven under normal conditions, giving customers better performance at the expense of much higher nitrogen oxide emissions. According to the Justice Department, Winterkorn is believed to be in Germany, where it is unlikely that he will be extradited.

That is on top of the 850,000 recalled a year ago by Audi, of which only some have been found to require modification.

VW engineer James Liang, who cooperated with investigators, was handed 40 months in jail past year.

He was detained just hours before a Volkswagen supervisory board meeting in Wolfsburg, called so lawyers could present information about the investigation into Audi employees and their role in Dieselgate.

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