Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested over diesel emission cheating scandal


"VW and Audi management have been very slow to act when it appeared that leaders of the companies were implicated", Carl Tobias, a University of Richmond law professor who has closely tracked the VW case, said in an email.

Stadler joined Audi in 1990 as part of the sales and marketing team. Audi's boss has now been detained over concerns he might be tempted to suppress evidence related to the diesel emissions cheating.

Although most of the attention to VW's emissions scandal has been focused on the US, where eight company officials have been charged, investigations are also ongoing in Germany, where the cars also failed to meet on-road emissions standards.

The Munich public prosecutor's office said it searched the apartment of Stadler last week. He has been CEO since 2007, and a member of the Volkswagen board since 2010.

Stadler is the most senior company official to be detained so far since Volkswagen (VW) admitted in September 2015 to using illegal software to rig US emissions tests on diesel engines.

In a statement issued earlier this year, Audi said that the models A6 and A7 were included in a voluntary recall of 850,000 diesel vehicles with V6 and V8 TDI engines announced in July 2017.

Last week, KBA said that up to a million Daimler cars had been found to contain illegal emissions devices. The same goes for Munich prosecutors and Stadler. Stadler was arrested early Monday at his Ingolstadt home.

The United States filed criminal charges against former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn in May, but he is unlikely to face USA authorities because Germany does not extradite its nationals to countries outside the European Union.

A spokesperson for Audi confirmed the arrest to media outlets but said the company would not comment on the substance of the investigation. Two are serving prison terms; Winterkorn and the others remained in Germany and are unlikely to be extradited. Last week, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen 1 billion euros (about $1.16 billion) for not supervising the employees who designed the testing software. Oliver Schmidt, VW's emissions compliance executive in the USA, was arrested in Florida last year, and later sentenced to seven years in prison.