Autos: Audi boss arrested for role in VW scandal
The CEO of luxury automaker Audi stepped down this week following his surprise arrest in Germany, said Patrick McGee in the Financial Times. Rupert Stadler was taken into custody by authorities in Munich as part of an investigation into Volkswagen’s emissions-cheating scandal. As head of VW’s luxury Audi brand, Stadler is the highest-ranking Volkswagen executive to be arrested in the ongoing fraud investigation, which has cost the company $26 billion in damages so far. The embattled automaker has been accused of using software to artificially lower vehicle emissions levels for more than a decade.
Until now, Stadler had been one of the VW scandal’s survivors, said Jack Ewing in The New York Times. Despite evidence that Audi “played a major role” in developing the emissions-cheating software on his watch, he remained in place. And when prosecutors fingered him as a suspect, “Volkswagen said its management board had not even discussed his dismissal.” It is “almost unheard-of for a German judge to jail a corporate executive of Stadler’s rank,” indicating the judge was convinced there was a risk he could flee or obstruct the investigation. Sources have suggested that the allegations against Stadler concern recent activity involving alleged suppression of evidence. ■