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Ex-Audi boss charged over Dieselgate

On charges: Rupert Stadler was arrested over Dieselgate in June last year, but German prosecutors finally levelled charges against him this week.

Former Audi boss Stadler charged with fraud for allegedly allowing dodgy diesel sales

1 Aug 2019

FORMER Audi chairman and chief executive officer Rupert Stadler has been charged with fraud by German prosecutors over his alleged role in the Dieselgate scandal that enveloped Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche in 2015 when emissions cheat devices were discovered on millions of diesel vehicles.


And he is unlikely to be the last to face charges, with the Munich prosecutors’ office reportedly disclosing that investigations against 23 further suspects are continuing.


In April, former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was also charged with fraud and related charges over the affair.


Both executives exited the company after being arrested. In Mr Stadler’s case, that was in June last year.


In the indictment papers revealed overnight in Germany, Mr Stadler’s charges relate to about 250,000 Audi-branded cars, 112,000 Porsches and 72,000 Volkswagens.


While Mr Stadler is not accused of being complicit in the introduction of the cheat devices that masked real-world emissions during official testing procedures, he is accused of knowingly allowing faulty vehicles to be sold once he was made aware of the rort.


“Defendant Stadler is accused of having been aware of the manipulations since the end of September 2015 at the latest, but he did not prevent the sale of affected Audi and VW vehicles thereafter,” the prosecutor said.


“Vehicles with the engines concerned were subsequently sold in large numbers and placed on the market.”


Mr Stadler has proclaimed his innocence, saying he will release his full response once he and his lawyers fully absorb the detail of the charges.


Audi released a statement saying it was in the interest of the company, its shareholders and employees to clarify the issues that led to the diesel crisis, but added: “Until this has happened, the presumption of innocence must prevail.”


German-born Mr Stadler, 56, spent time in custody after being arrested, resigning his post as head of Audi which he had held since 2010.


Audi was fined €800 million ($A1.29 billion) in October over the Dieselgate scandal that, in Audi’s case, focused on Audi-developed V6 and V8 diesel engines developed for the VW Group.


So far, the scandal has cost Audi about €3.4 billion ($A5.5b) since 2015. 


Across the VW Group’s multiple brands, almost five million vehicles with alleged cheat devices were sold between 2004 and 2018.

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