The CEO of Audi, Rupert Stadler, was arrested Monday morning by the police at his home in Ingolstadt, Germany, according to the Munich public prosecutor’s office which, in late May, had accused Stadler and another member of the Audi executive committee of « fraud ».
The public prosecutor believes there is a « risk of concealment of evidence » that justifies the arrest. Stadler’s arrest relates to the so-called dieselgate scandal in which Audi’s parent company Volkswagen was caught falsifying the nitrogen oxide emissions from its cars.
Since then, the scandal has overwhelmed the Volkswagen and its leaders, starting with the former administrator Martin Winterkorn, who was indicted in the US and forced to leave his post.
The automotive group has been under investigation since 2015 by the Munich Public Prosecutor, as well as by the authorities of several countries. A total of 20 people have been investigated in Audi on suspicion of being involved in the sale of cars with software that deactivated the emission controls while driving.
At the beginning of June, the Federal Automobile Agency ordered the recall of 60,000 Audi A6 and A7 after the discovery of « illicit » devices that falsified the roadside emission levels. At the end of May, the investigators ordered searches of the workplaces and homes of the suspects.
Last week Volkswagen agreed to pay a penalty of EUR 1 billion ordered by the State Prosecutor’s Office of Braunschweig. But the group’s judicial troubles involve another 55 countries beyond Germany and also include manipulation of the stock market.
Overall, the group has to set aside 27 billion euros to pay for fines and the repurchasing of shares.