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Dieselgate: Munich court rejects Stadler appeal

Behind bars: It is alleged that Rupert Stadler was aware of the software-based defeat devices fitted to certain Audi AG products but still allowed their European sale.

Audi AG chairman Rupert Stadler to remain in prison over Dieselgate involvement

14 Aug 2018

SUSPENDED Audi AG chairman of the board of management Rupert Stadler has this week had his appeal to be released from prison on bail rejected by a Munich court, according to Reuters.


As a result, Mr Stadler, who is being probed over suspected fraud and false advertising relating to the ongoing Dieselgate saga, will likely remain in custody at a prison in Ausburg, Germany, until his trial starts at an unspecified date.


He is also set to give evidence alongside 27 other witnesses – including nine current or former executives from Audi AG parent company Volkswagen Group – at hearings relating to Dieselgate, which will take place in the Stuttgart district court from September to November.


Mr Stadler was arrested without charge in June after his private residence was raided and Munich-based public prosecutors expressed their fears that he might tamper with Dieselgate evidence by influencing witnesses being questioned.


“The Chamber emphasises that danger of obstructing justice remains. The release of the accused from custody was therefore rejected,” the Munich Court of Appeals said in a statement provided to Reuters.


While Mr Stadler has continued to deny any involvement in Dieselgate, Reuters reported in June that evidence obtained during the questioning of former Audi AG officials linked him to possible diesel emissions manipulation from 2012 onwards.


As previously reported, Audi AG has put Mr Stadler on leave and replaced him as chairman of the board of management with board member for marketing and sales Bram Schot on an interim basis.


However, Automotive News Europe reported that Mr Stalder will not return to Audi AG after his 11-year run in charge, regardless of the outcome of the legal proceedings against him.


According to German newspaper Handelsblatt, Markus Duesmann has instead left his position as board of management member for purchasing and supplier network at BMW AG to become Audi AG’s new chairman of the board of management.


Mr Duesmann was last month appointed to Volkswagen Group’s board of management, but a non-compete clause in his BMW AG contract means a start date is yet to be determined. International reports suggest that he will start his Audi AG appointment on January 1 next year.


Audi AG announced in May this year that it had found “engine management irregularities” in about 60,000 examples of its fourth-generation A6 and first-generation A7 models sold in Europe with the Gen2 evo 3.0-litre turbo-diesel V6. This same powertrain saw Porsche’s Cayenne also implicated.

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