Former Audi chief Rupert Stadler is charged with fraud over ‘dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal
- Former Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has been charged with fraud
- Him and three others are also accused of illegal advertising and false certificates
- Linked to the sale of over 430,000 cars in the ‘dieselgate’ emissions scandal
The former chief executive of Audi has been charged with fraud over the Volkswagen subsidiary’s role in the ‘dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal.
Rupert Stadler, and three others, have also been accused of falsifying certifications and illegal advertising by German prosecutors in Munich.
After reaching the same stage in criminal proceedings as former VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn, Stadler could become the first automotive boss to stand trial over the scandal.
More than 11 million vehicles worldwide were fitted with software that fooled regulators’ emissions tests, it emerged in September 2015, meaning the vehicles produced far more harmful emissions on the road than their tests suggested.
Former Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler has been charged with fraud over the Volkswagen subsidiary’s role in the ‘dieselgate’ emissions cheating scandal. (Pictured) Rupert Stadler leaving Audi’s annual press conference in Ingolstadt, southern Germany, in March last year
Software was applied to diesel-fuelled vehicles, and only uncovered after September 2015, which could detect when they were being tested and then reduce harmful emissions far below actual levels during real world driving.
Stadler found out ‘at the latest in September 2015’ when Volkswagen admitted to selling 11 million cheating vehicles worldwide after an American investigation.
But from that time on, he is alleged to have knowingly continued selling affected vehicles from Audi especially in Europe and the US, prosecutors say.
After the cheating was revealed, the former CEO was fired from the group and held in custody for five months until October last year.
Porsche and VW cars fitted with cheating engines from the high-end subsidiary also continued rolling out of dealerships.
The charges relate to sales of 250,712 Audi cars, 71,577 Volkswagens and 112,131 Porsches.
More than 430,000 VW, Audi and Porsche cars were fitted with ‘defeat devices’ to fool regulators’ emissions test in the scandal. (Pictured) Rupert Stadler checks the time at the company’s press conference last year
Sprawling 12-brand group Volkswagen has so far been hit with over 30 billion euros ($33.5 billion) of costs relating to dieselgate, much of it for fines, buybacks and compensation payouts in the US.
The scandal has jolted the German auto industry as other carmakers like Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler have found themselves accused of similar cheating.
VW is making a massive shift to electric vehicles partly in response, while German politics was for much of 2018 consumed with debate over whether and how to ban the most polluting diesel vehicles from city centres.