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German authorities arrest Audi CEO over diesel emissions scandal

ABR Staff Writer Published 19 June 2018

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been arrested in Germany in connection with a probe into the diesel emissions scandal.

The authorities stated that he was detained in an anticipation that he might hinder with an on-going investigation into the scandal, by tampering with evidence.

The investigation's focus is on the vehicles that were sold across Europe that were believed to have been outfitted with the emissions defeat software.

Stadler has not been charged with anything yet and his lawyers stated that he is willing co-operate with the authorities.

If he answers questions from the prosecution, he could be released quickly, or else he may be held for as long as three months.

The detention could be extended if it is determined that he could influence any witnesses, Bloomberg stated.

The news comes at a time when Volkswagen is trying to change its image by restructuring its leadership and to accelerate its transition to electric vehicles, in the wake of the emissions scandal that emerged in September, 2015. Porsche stated that the incident will be discussed at a supervisory board meeting.

The arrest exemplifies German authorities widening their investigation into the scandal, where vehicles with defeat devices were sold in Europe, particularly in Germany.

The diesel scandal involving Volkswagen, Porsche and Audi dates back to 2007.  Diesel engines across these brands were outfitted with software that could detect if a pollution test from federal authority has been initiated and will turn on emissions control. These defeat devices would show that their emissions levels are well within the federal emissions levels.

Last year, Volkswagen was found to be guilty in the emissions scandal in the US. The automaker had agreed to pay $25bn in compensation to owners of the vehicles and to regulators.

The company had also offered to buy back 500,000 vehicles. It has also offered to invest in producing electric vehicles, along with investing in electric charging infrastructure in the country, as part of the deal.

Image: Rupert Stadler at this year’s Geneva Motorshow. Photo: Courtesy of Alexander Migl/Wikipedia.org.