Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested, Declared a Flight Risk

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Audi AG, was arrested in Munich Monday morning on suspicion of fraud, according to German prosecutors.

The CEO, who took the helm at Audi in 2007 after joining the company in 1990, was taken into custody following a years-long probe into Volkswagen Group’s emissions cheating. While the automaker has already paid a steep price at home and abroad for its defeat device-equipped diesel engines, today marks the highest profile arrest so far in the ongoing investigations.

According to German media, prosecutors claim Stadler poses a flight risk, meaning he’ll remain in custody for the time being.

“The arrest warrant is based on concealment of evidence,” Munich prosecutors said, according to Deutsche Welle. Stadler denies involvement in the conspiracy to side-step environmental regulators via rigged engines.

The judge Stadler appeared before this morning declared he be remanded in custody pending further charges.

Germany’s lengthy criminal probe into Volkswagen Group’s dirty dealings ramped up earlier this month. On June 1th, prosecutors listed Stadler as a suspect after raiding his home. Last month, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed a March indictment against former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, implicating him in the conspiracy. Should Winterkorn ever set foot in the U.S., he’ll face four felony charges of conspiring to defraud the country. However, it’s German authorities he’ll need to worry about.

While the list of Audi suspects is 20 employees long, Stadler’s reign at the automaker overlaps completely with the diesel affair, which began ahead of the launch of the automaker’s 2009 model year vehicles. Stadler joined Audi’s board in 2003.

The illegal software at the heart of the diesel emissions scandal is said to have originated from Stadler’s division, leading to suspicions over how much the CEO knew. In its 2017 annual report, VW Group claims the decision to allow defeat devices came from persons below the board level. That decision was made in 2006, the automaker said.

However, last year a fired Audi engineer claimed he held proof of Stadler’s knowledge of the deception, though it isn’t known whether the engineer’s evidence or testimony led to today’s arrest.

According to a BBC report, Stadler should undergo questioning by Wednesday. A VW Group board meeting was immediately scheduled to discuss Stadler’s arrest.

[Image: Audi AG]

Steph Willems
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  • Jpolicke Jpolicke on Jun 18, 2018

    Seems a little excessive to hold him without bail. Where's he going to go? Certainly not the US, and Interpol will track him anywhere on the Continent. And Germans hiding out in South America is so '40s.

  • "scarey" "scarey" on Jun 18, 2018

    Nazi regime. Well, Mizz Merkle IZ zee daughter of a Very Famous Leader of a previous Reich, it iz rumored.

    • Conundrum Conundrum on Jun 18, 2018

      An expert on Germsn history has joined in with "it iz rumored". How quaintly newswire circa 1949. "She obtained a doctorate in quantum chemistry in 1986 and worked as a research scientist until 1989. Merkel entered politics in the wake of the Revolutions of 1989" How's the grocery shelf-stacking business going? Apologies if I have misidentified your trade.

  • RobbyG This sort of reminds me of a "better" version of the first BMW I3's that came out with a whopping 60ish miles of range in in a super compact body made of plastic outside and straight through into the interior. And BMW wanted $40k+ then.$34k for this is still double the price of where it should realistically be.
  • Lorenzo Are there any naturally aspirated engines available?
  • Jeff There was a time that all the major auto makers advertised there full size V-8 engine cars to be quieter than a Rolls Royce. Ford had ads up thru the early 80s showing the Ford LTD and the Mercury Grand Marquis being quieter than a Rolls Royce with a smoother ride. An ad for a the Grand Marquis showed how quiet and smooth riding it was demonstrating that even a rabbi could do a circumcision on a baby boy in the back of a Grand Marquis as it was being driven. Another Mercury commercial with a diamond cutter splitting an expensive diamond while the car was being driven. Most cars in the 60s, 70s, and much of the 80s were marketed for their quiet interiors and smooth rides. Now we have to add noise to a vehicle to give the illusion of powerful and fast. If I ever were to own an EV I would want it quiet. Saturday Night Live even had a parody on the Mercury rabbi commercial. Bris inside a Royal Deluxe II from Saturday Night Live › ... 1:25Bris performed inside a Royal Deluxe II in a Saturday Night Live skit.Vimeo · Adam Kegel · Jan 18, 2019
  • Lorenzo Six percent here, ten percent there, and pretty soon you've got a dead brand.
  • ToolGuy Tungsten trim? I am holding out for the Depleted Uranium trim.