'Dieselgate' pressure on Audi increases
German prosecutors have confirmed that they raided the home of Rupert Stadler, CEO of Volkswagen (VW) subsidiary Audi, over suspicion of fraud related to diesel emissions cheating by the firm.
“Since 30 May, CEO of Audi, Rupert Stadler, and another member of the current board have been regarded as suspects,” prosecutors in Bavarian capital Munich said in a statement.
“They are accused of fraud as well as indirectly falsifying certifications. This relates to bringing diesel vehicles fitted with manipulative emissions management software into circulation on the European market.”
The homes of both Stadler and the other board member had been searched for evidence. An Audi spokesperson said the firm was cooperating with the investigation.
The latest probe follows a mass recall ordered by German authorities in early June of about 60 000 Audi A6 and A7 cars across Europe to remove illegal emissions control software, while prosecutors raided offices and the homes of some workers in February, March and April.
Audi’s former head of engine development was also taken into custody in September 2017.
VW admitted in September 2015 to manipulating 11-million diesel vehicles worldwide with software designed to reduce harmful emissions during testing, but allowed emissions to rise to many times legal limits in real driving conditions.
Since then investigators have been trying to unravel who was responsible for the installation of such so-called “defeat devices”.
The current VW boss Herbert Diess has been accused of knowing about diesel cheating before it became public - an allegation rejected by the firm in May.
The scandal dubbed “dieselgate” has so far cost the world’s largest car maker more than €25-billion in buy backs, fines and compensation. The company also still remains mired in legal woes at home and abroad.
Other car makers have also been forced to recall vehicles to fix manipulated software, although none has so far admitted to mass cheating as VW did.
Sources: AFP and Business Day