Even though it’s been a while since the entire Dieselgate created a lot of buzz, it still makes ‘victims’. According to CNBC, citing a report from Reuters, the head of Volkswagen’s luxury arm, Audi, was arrested this Monday, making him the most senior company official so far to be taken into custody after the emissions test controversy.
Rupert Stadler was detained, as the prosecutors from Munich were concerned that he might try hindering an ongoing investigation into the scandal, which would have automatically attracted Volkswagen into a real leadership crysis.
A whole new strategy for VW?
The news of the arrest came as a big shock form VW, as the group’s new CEO, Herbert Diess, was trying to integrate a new leadership structure. The most interesting part was that Stadler was included in this structure, supposed to speed up the VAG’s group shift towards electric vehicles. Obviously, this decision was highly influenced by the Dieselgate scandal.
“As part of an investigation into diesel affairs and Audi engines, the Munich prosecutor’s office executed an arrest warrant against Mr. Professor Rupert Stadler on June 18, 2018,” said the Munich prosecutor’s office, in an official statement.
Stadler is supposed to be remanded in custody, according to a German judge’s decision, in order to prevent him from trying to obstruct or hinder the Dieselgate investigation. As for both Audi and VW, they have confirmed the arrest, but declared that the presumption of innocence in Stadler’s case.
The arrest is expected to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting, scheduled for this Monday.
Three years later, the scandal is still on
Back in September 2015, Volkswagen admitted to using illegal software, in their attempt to cheat U.S. emissions tests for diesel engines. Eventually, this move managed to generate what can be called the biggest crisis in the company’s history and led to a regulatory crackdown over the entire auto industry.
Shortly after, the United States filed several criminal charges against Martin Winterkorn, former VW CEO, but it’s less likely for him to face the U.S. authorities since Germany does not extradite its citizens to countries outside the European Union.