Audi CEO arrested in connection with diesel emissions scam.
In a move that has rattled auto industry, the chief executive of Audi, the luxury automaker owned by Volkswagen, was arrested on Monday in Germany. He was taken into custody on suspicion of fraud connected to emissions-cheating scandal.
Rupert Stadler, 55, is the first member of German car-maker’s Volkswagen executive board to be arrested in connection with diesel emissions investigation. In 2015, it was found that Volkswagen had used a custom-made software during emissions testing to manipulate results.
Sources said some of Volkswagen’s diesel engines had a “defeat device” that made it possible for them to pass emissions tests despite releasing more than 10 times the permitted amounts of the nitrogen oxide, or NOx, a gas that is harmful to human health and the environment.
Volkswagen had admitted that three years ago, around 11 million of its vehicles were equipped with software meant to deceive emissions tests, including at least 2 million Audis. The company later pleaded guilty to fraud in the United States and was charged $25 billion in fines, penalties and restitution for owners and car dealers. Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive of Volkswagen, resigned after the car maker admitted to using the software.
Munich prosecutors said Stadler was detained out of concern that he would suppress evidence needed for their investigation.
Mark Clothier, a spokesman for Audi, confirmed the arrest and declined to comment further as investigation was in progress.
The German government last year accused Audi of cheating on its emissions tests for high-end models. It was the first time it faced charges of this kind in its home country, according to Reuters.
Audi was asked to recall about 24,000 A7 and A8 models that it produced between 2009 and 2013.