Economy

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in diesel scandal investigation

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in diesel scandal investigation

The second suspect is Bernd Martens, Audi's head of purchasing, according to a person familiar with the investigation who declined to be identified because prosecutors hadn't disclosed the name, Reuters reported.

It's a awful start of the week for Audi as after images of the new A1 Sportback escaped online sooner than they were supposed to, the company's boss has just been arrested.

The Munich prosecutors said the move against Stadler was not made at the behest of USA authorities.

In September 2015 Volkswagen, the parent company of Audi, first admitted to fitting devices to its cars to cheat diesel emissions tests. They were good days for VW, leading to the highest-ranking diesel vehicle sales for both Audi and WV brands with turbo direct injection (TDI) engines.

The scandal has so far cost the VW group more than 25 billion euros ($29 billion) in buybacks, fines and compensation, and the company remains mired in legal woes at home and overseas. Volkswagen Group has admitted to using software that helped cars pass pollution tests but then disabled the emissions controls in real-world driving. The company pleaded guilty to fraud in the United States and was charged $25 billion in fines, penalties, and restitution.

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Rupert Stadler was arrested as part of a German investigation into claims that Audi has cheated on diesel emissions tests. Earlier in the month, at least 60,000 Audi A6 and A7 cars across Europe were called in to remove the illegal software.

Reuters also reports that Audi will appoint an interim CEO while Stadler is being held, citing Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. He has been CEO since 2007, and a member of the Volkswagen board since 2010.

But investigations are continuing elsewhere. Last week, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen 1 billion euros (about $1.16 billion) for not supervising the employees who designed the testing software.

Audi confirmed the arrest to AFP, declining to give further details. Audi's supervisory board has yet to sign off on the nomination, Sueddeutsche said.

"Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was provisionally arrested this morning", the company said in a statement.