Former Audi CEO charged with fraud over emissions scandal
The former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been charged with fraud in relation to the diesel emissions scandal from 2015. Having worked for Volkswagen since 1990, Stadler was arrested in June 2018.
After spending several months in jail, the exec was removed from his position as Audi’s CEO last October. Stadler had been appointed to VW’s management board in 2010.
Volkswagen admitted that it had rigged millions of diesel engines in order to cheat on emissions tests. The “defeat devices” were installed in the vehicles to ensure that their engines produced lower levels of toxic emissions during testing than in normal driving conditions.
“Our company continues to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities in order to clarify the circumstances that led to the diesel crisis. This clarification is a prerequisite for the successful new start.”
Prosecutors in Germany revealed that Stadler knew about these devices and the inaccurate emissions tests. They went on to say that in spite of this he failed to prevent ‘hundreds of thousands’ of cars that contained this rigged software from being sold.
The charges relate to almost 435,000 cars that were destined for the US and European markets. The cars included models from Audi, Porsche, and Volkswagen.
Audi released a statement that said: “Our company continues to cooperate fully with the investigating authorities in order to clarify the circumstances that led to the diesel crisis. This clarification is a prerequisite for the successful new start.
“The presumption of innocence continues to apply to all defendants until the allegations have been clarified.”
The diesel scandal ended up costing VW over $30 billion in recalls, legal penalties and settlements and also had a negative impact on consumer confidence.
Prosecutors in the USA allege that the emissions scandal may have been going on for almost a decade. According to CNN prosecutors have stated that as far back as 2006, the engineers at VW in Germany knew that the company’s new 2.0 litre diesel ending wasn’t able to meet emissions regs.
The Prosecutors went on to say that instead of improving these engines, they designed software capable of allowing cars to detect when they were being tested, which could in turn allow them to boost performance during testing in order to pass.