Berlin – Rupert Stadler, a top-ranking official at German car maker, Audi was arrested and remanded to jail amid a scandal that has plunged the automaker into disrepute over key manufacturing and emission requirements.
For many, it came out as a shock that Stadler, one of the world’s most powerful luxury cars executives suddenly winded up in jail.
Rupert has been working for Audi parent company Volkswagen since 1990. Now, it seems that the highest ranking and the most senior executive in the company is the first one to be taken into custody over the German carmaker’s emissions test cheating scandal.
Munich prosecutors stated that Audi’s chief executive was arrested because many of the investigators believe that Rupert might suppress evidence in connection with a major probe surrounding the diesel versions of thousands of Audi cars.
Last week they confirmed a searched of Rupert’s home for evidence (as part of the investigation) that has been underway for over a year now.
The prosecutors’ office subsequently confirmed that “The suspect has been seen by a judge, who has ordered him to be remanded into custody.”
Audi and Volkswagen also confirmed Stadler’s arrest but are claiming presumption of his innocence.
Even Nicolai Laude, the Volkswagen spokesperson, confirmed that Rupert was arrested, but he refused to comment on the investigation.
However, a spokesperson of Porsche SE, another partner company, in a statement, said that Stadler’s arrest would be discussed at a supervisory board meeting.
Nonetheless, it seems like no one is willing to talk about Stadler and his arrest.
The arrest came just after Volkswagen received $1.2 billion of penalty from Germany for running diesel engine emissions worldwide. Volkswagen had admitted that it rigged millions of diesel engines.
The scandal has now trashed confidence among consumers and regulators in both Audi and Volkswagen’s diesel technology.
As a matter of fact, the whole matter surrounding the diesel emissions probe has already cost Volkswagen over $30 billion in legal penalties and settlements.
Stadler was appointed in 2010 to Volkswagen’s management board.
Prosecutors have said that he could be released soon if he cooperates.