Former CEO of Audi Rupert Stadler was charged by German prosecutors for his alleged role in the Volkswagen Dieselgate scandal, along with three other suspects who were not mentioned. Stadler is accused of helping the automaker carry out cheat-testing tests to make Audi & # 39; s cars & # 39; s cleaner than they actually were, and to hide that fraud.
Stadler is the second known Volkswagen Group director who is being prosecuted in Germany with criminal prosecution; former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn was charged in April. (Winterkorn was also sued in the United States in 2018.) Four top Audi managers were sued in January by a large jury in the United States and two employees are in prison here also.
The European Commission has also accused Volkswagen Group of collusion with BMW and Daimler (the parent company of Mercedes-Benz) for delaying the introduction of better technology for reducing emissions.
prosecutors Stadler arrested last year and held him in custody for four months because he allegedly tried to obstruct their investigation. Audi postponed the launch of its first electric vehicle, the E-Tron, after his arrest, and Stadler fired shortly thereafter. He joined Audi in 1990.
The costs are less than a week after The New York Times reported about how Audi was "more deeply involved" in the release of the emission cheat plan than previously known. Documents viewed by the Times show that engineers at Audi already discussed in 2003 how to cheat American emissions tests.
Volkswagen Group would then sell millions of cars with software that could detect when they passed the Environmental Protection Agency emissions tests. The software would limit harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions during these tests to the permitted level. But when the cars drove under normal circumstances, they emitted up to 40 times more NOx.
Information made public in the January indictment showed that the cheat was probably from Audi. Some automaker engineers concluded in 2006 that they could not calibrate the company's new diesel engine to meet both NOx emission standards in the United States and the desire of Audi managers to have a & # 39; large trunk and a high-end sound system & # 39; to offer. Instead, they were instructed to design a way to beat the emissions tests. A few engineers pushed back, but the company's executives finally decided to go ahead with the plan, according to the indictment.