By on June 18, 2018

Image: Audi AG

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]

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45 Comments on “Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Arrested, Declared a Flight Risk...”


  • avatar
    tylanner

    Bravo emissions probe investigators….

    This appears to be the biggest and most impactful corporate fraud case in human history.

    The fact that a large successful company thought that such a harmful global lie was prudent for the business and worth the risk is a terrible sign of the times…..

    • 0 avatar
      1500cc

      It still amazes me that it hasn’t really affected their sales … they still battle it out with Toyota and Renault/Nissan for the top spot in the world.

      Given how people love to pile on against companies for even the slightest transgression (real or perceived), you’d thing there would have been more repercussions to poisoning the planet.

      • 0 avatar
        windnsea00

        Heavy discounting helps, just got my mother into a 2018 Jetta Wolsfburg with a sale price (she did lease) of $15,800 which is 26% off MSRP.

      • 0 avatar
        jpolicke

        It still appears to me that the German government is more interested in prosecuting VW execs because of loss of shareholder value, failure to make disclosures to stockholders, and lost profits, while environmental damage is at best an afterthought. Contrast that to the US prosecution which was directly tied to pollution.

      • 0 avatar
        dantes_inferno

        >Given how people love to pile on against companies for even the slightest transgression (real or perceived), you’d thing there would have been more repercussions to poisoning the planet.

        Welcome to the era of faux outrage.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    What are they going to do with his company R8 Spyder? May I have it?

  • avatar
    ACCvsBig10

    Well that means he have plenty of time to watch Germany in the world cup at home.

    Sorry US, that your team didn’t make the tournament and we cheated you in emissions, but root for us because we brought you the frankfurter

  • avatar
    TW5

    Rumors swirling that Merkel is also in hot water.

    Interesting developments.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

    “Rumors swirling that Merkel is also in hot water.”—Lily Von Schtupp should not have chewed off Justin Trudeau’s eyebrow at the orgy after the G7 Meeting…was that it ?

  • avatar
    stingray65

    Lets see, VW shareholders lose billions in fines, several top executives are facing prison time and/or have lost lucrative jobs, all for selling otherwise nicely engineered and well-liked cars that violate emission regulations in a fairly minor way. On the other hand, Merkel’s government has shut down lots of zero-emission nuclear plants and replaced them with coal and renewables that cost German household an extra 700 euros per year in higher electricity bills, and haven’t lowered German CO2 emissions at all. And in the US, Hillary sells a large part of the US Uranium reserves that might be used for clean nuclear power to the Russians in exchange for some big donations to the money laundering Clinton foundation. Meanwhile US environmental groups are receiving major donations from the Russians to finance their anti-fracking protests to limit US oil production and increase Mother Russia’s oil revenues. So who is really damaging the environment and who should really be going to jail?

    • 0 avatar
      nels0300

      So you’re saying Hillary, Merkel, and US environmental groups should be in jail and we should leave VW alone?

      Got it.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        If company executives can go to jail for violating environmental laws, shouldn’t politicians and environmentalists also be held accountable for their irresponsible, unethical, and illegal environmentally related activities?

      • 0 avatar
        civicjohn

        @nels,

        No, I’m just saying go back to your Patagonia tent and meditate with some carbon-free incense.

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      “…nicely engineered and well-liked cars that violate emission regulations in a fairly minor way”

      Up to 40x the allowed NOx emissions is only minor if you’re not breathing the same air as everybody else. But the really important issue is the underlying criminal intent, and the coverup.

      As for ‘nicely engineered’, I’ve already expressed my opinion about ‘German Engineering’.

      And as for the other stories you mention, those alleged injustices have nothing to do with this case.

      • 0 avatar
        stingray65

        40x .00001 is not very much – particularly considering the total fuel burned is probably less than half the amount a so called legally clean F-150 or Silverado generates.

        • 0 avatar
          Jack Denver

          You are entitled to your own opinions but not your own facts. You are just pulling numbers (without even units attached) out of the air.

          The legal limit for diesel emissions is 0.043 grams/km. This seems like a really small number but keep in mind that cars go a lot further than 1 kilometer – they go many kilometers. VWs gave off up to 1.5g/km. If a VW travels 20,000 km (12,000 miles)/ year, it might give off up to 30 kilo (65 lbs) of NOx while a legally compliant vehicle would emit 860 grams (less than 2 lbs). That’s the difference between a couple of little Bernzomatic torch cylinders vs 3 barbeque tanks. Multiply that by hundreds of thousands of vehicles and that is a BIG difference.

          Anyway, if VW thought that this was not really a big difference, the solution was to lobby Congress (and the EU authorities) to change the law, not to make themselves a law unto themself.

    • 0 avatar
      Null Set

      Producing, in the real world, 40 times above the legal level of emissions, does not count as “a fairly minor way”. Add systematic deceit and fraud to that equation, and you clearly are either clueless or blinded to basic facts by ideological myopia.

      If you’re going to blatantly ignore/misrepresent facts, at least try to be charming while you’re at it.

    • 0 avatar
      Jack Denver

      1. Two wrongs do not make a right.

      2. People actually die from Nox emissions. Some of the VW autos emitted up to 40x the legally allowable amount when they were not in “test cheating” mode.

      3. By cheating on emissions, VW not only cheated the public and the government, it cheated its competitors because it was not operating on a level playing field. VW stole (and stealing is the correct word) a bunch of sales from its competitors because they were able to offer a lower priced diesel without a urea system that still met emission standards. People used to wonder how it was VW was able to do this while its competitors could not. Now we know how – by cheating.

    • 0 avatar
      civicjohn

      @stringray,

      Yup, pretty funny how the EU (pronounced “eewh”) seemed to completely miss the proliferation of diesel-equipped autos, and yet the “new think” is that diesels need to be wiped off the face of the planet, or at least the part of the planet that barely has $19 billion collectively in GDP. Yet you have the nerve to worry about the workers (that was sarcasm in case anybody from the EU missed it).

      I list the GDP figure for BAFO, to save him some “maths” time, when he’s done globetrotting.

      Ms. Merkel is hanging by a thread and her newfound love for coal over nuclear is rich, indeed. I love to hear the EU Tesla fanboys tell their tales of literally getting sick while driving with all of those darn ICE fumes out there, and they just can’t wait to bury the legacy manufacturers when Sir Elon starts dropping right-hand $35k Model 3s to save at least the EU part of the world, while they will be paying out the butt for electricity to charge them up, as well as paying for the generous pensions that all of those laid-off workers will have.

      The EU is an experiment that will go down in history as one of the most ridiculous decisions ever.

      • 0 avatar

        “Sir Elon”

        When Elon Musk was knighted?

        “The EU is an experiment that will go down in history as one of the most ridiculous decisions ever.”

        EU is not an experiment, EU is the Third Reich in all but name. EU was created for Germany to take control over Europe, I mean in economy and trade. EU pumps money from all over Europe and esp. PIGS into German Central Bank. Germans get richer and all others poorer because Germany as a economic superpower overwhelms all other EU members in open market and that other members of EU cannot devalue their currencies to fairly compete. Germany (and Axis members) also turned US from manufacturing superpower to mostly exporter of agricultural products and raw materials.

  • avatar
    tinbad

    I find it hard to believe VW were the only ones cheating, it seems more likely they were just the ones who got caught. It’s not like their diesels were much more “efficient” than let’s say BMWs or Mercedes or… ??

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    I’d bet that Orville and Wilbur were the first people to be considered a flight risk.

  • avatar
    nels0300

    But….but…but…. Hillary did this….Merkel did that… something something pick up trucks pollute more than a diesel Golf….the EU is a failure…. you’re just hippie…bla bla bla

    You all sound like my 5 year old.

    What does any of that have to do with VW cheating emissions laws and covering it up?

    I don’t understand why people feel the need to defend VW.

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    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.

  • avatar
    "scarey"

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

    • 0 avatar
      conundrum

      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.


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