Dieselgate: criminal charges against ex-Audi CEO Stadler
On Wednesday, prosecutors of the Munich Court in Germany have laid criminal charges of fraud, false certification, and deliberately misleading advertising against Rupert Stadler (56), former CEO of Audi. It’s up to the Munich District II Court now to decide to push through a criminal trial that could lead in the worst-case scenario to 15 years of imprisonment.
Stadler is accused of ‘having knowledge’ of the manipulation of the emission results of the Audi and VW cars by emissions-cheating software ‘at last at the end of September 2015’. Nevertheless, ‘he didn’t do anything to stop or prevent the sale of the affected vehicles’ ever since.
The indictment mentions more than 250.000 Audi models involved, together with 71.000 Volkswagens and 112.000 Porsches. Most of them were sold in the United States and Europe.
Dumped by Volkswagen
Stadler was arrested in June 2018 on suspicion of conspiracy and was released on conditions in October, four months later. All the time he insisted on his innocence, but while in prison, the Volkswagen supervisory board suspended him and then dropped him altogether.
He was replaced as CEO by the Dutch ex-Daimler man and Audi’s marketing and sales director, Bram Schot, who joined Volkswagen in 2011, and was a member of the board since autumn 2017.
No golden handshake
According to the German press agency DPA, Stadler, who was negotiating his departure with VW and “was hoping on a golden handshake of tens of millions,” got a little less than a million euros for the time being. More could follow after the juridical procedure ends.
Together with Stadler, three other Audi managers are accused. One is Wolfgang Hatz (60) who was in charge of the engine development at Audi, VW, and Porsche at that time, and another, a lead engineer, Giovanni P. Both have been in prison for a while too. According to Hatz’s lawyer, he still denies the accusations. One of the three still works at Audi today.