© Reuters. THE CHAIRMAN OF the management BOARD Of AUDI HAS BEEN STOPPED
FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Rupert Stadler, the chairman of the management board of Audi, a subsidiary top of the range Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p), was arrested Monday and became to this day the most senior officer of the automotive group to be concerned about justice in the framework of the investigation on the scandal of the dieselgate.
“In the framework of a survey on the folder and diesel engines from Audi, the public prosecutor of Munich has carried out an arrest warrant against professor Rupert Stadler on June 18, 2018,” wrote the prosecutor in a press release, stating that Stadler was arrested Monday morning at his home in Ingolstadt, Bavaria.
“We confirm that Mr. Stadler has been arrested this morning,” said a spokesman for Volkswagen, adding that Stadler had the presumption of innocence. Audi has also confirmed the arrest. Rupert Stadler of his side was not reachable in the immediate future.
A spokesman for Porsche SE, the company that controls VW and Audi, has said that the arrest of Rupert Stadler would be discussed at a meeting of the supervisory board this Monday.
The prosecutor’s office in Munich said that the arrest of the boss of Audi has been decided due to the risk of seeing obstruct justice. “The suspect has been seen by a judge who ordered his remand in custody,” he said.
The latter has expanded in the past week to investigate the luxury brand of VW, incorporating Rupert Stadler among the suspects of fraud and false advertising.
Rupert Stadler, who heads Audi since 2007, has been criticized for his management of the scandal that erupted in September 2015 when Volkswagen acknowledged that it had falsified the tests of pollution emissions of its diesel engines in the United States.
The chairman of the management board of Audi, was a stalwart of the former chairman of the supervisory board of Volkswagen Ferdinand Piëch, himself ousted in 2015.
The United States filed in may a criminal complaint against the former chairman of the management board of VW, Martin Winterkorn, but it is unlikely that the latter finds himself before the american justice, because Germany does not extradite its citizens to countries outside the european Union.
The public prosecutor of Munich has said that the arrest of Rupert Stadler had not been made at the request of u.s. authorities.
Audi, the main contributor to the profits of VW, was recognized in November 2015 that its diesel engines V6 3.0-litre were fitted with a device illegal in the United States.
The premium brand of VW reported last month that it had discovered the presence of illegal software over a several thousands of additional vehicles, more than two and a half years after the first revelations on the dieselgate.
Action VW down 2.4 per cent to 10.20 am GMT on the Frankfurt stock Exchange, at the bottom of the Dax index (-1,31%), and the second largest decline of the index, the pan-european EuroStoxx 50 (-0,97%).
(Edward Taylor and Maria Sheahan, Claude Chendjou for the French service, edited by Wilfrid Exbrayat)