The Volkswagen diesel scandal claims another executive scalp


The chief executive of Audi, the luxury automaker owned by Volkswagen, was arrested Monday on suspicion of fraud in relation to the German carmaker's emissions-cheating scandal. "We will comment on this later". In early June, Munich prosecutors summoned Stadler to answer questions alongside ex-VW Group CEO Martin Winterkorn, former Audi technical director Ulrich Hackenberg, and other Group execs concerning the emissions investigation.

Prosecutors said Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was being detained due to concerns he might hinder an ongoing investigation into the emissions scandal. The executive was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt.

Last month, Germany's Motor Transport Authority ordered Audi to recall and fix 60,000 A6 and A7 diesel cars alleged to have the illegal software installed.

Last week, the prosecutors' office widened its emissions cheating probe to include Stadler among the suspects accused of fraud and false advertising.

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They added the move against Stadler was not made at the behest of USA authorities.

The fallout has cost VW more than $30bn to date - the bulk of that sum in the USA where, in May, prosecutors filed criminal charges against former VW boss Martin Winterkorn.

Well, it took three years but it looks like the repercussions of Volkswagen's diesel emissions cheating is finally reaching the very top of the company's ladders.

Audi, Volkswagen AG's luxury vehicle maker, declined to comment further on the issue, citing the ongoing investigations. Wolfgang Hatz, a former VW manager who joined Audi unit in 2001 and from 2007 to 2011 ran VW's motor development, remains in custody in Munich.

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"The arrest warrant was made because of a risk that evidence might be suppressed", Stephan Necknig, a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office, told Reuters Television.

Just last week, VW agreed to pay a one-billion-euro fine to settle a probe by German prosecutors.

Stadler often was seen at auto shows and events promoting Audi's latest products, and he once was viewed as a potential successor to Winterkorn, who was ousted days after the scandal blew up in September 2015.

Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to the criminal charges pressed against the company where two managers are serving prison time in US.

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