Chief Executive Of Audi Rupert Stadler Detained By German Authorities Over Dieselgate Scandal

Chief Executive Of Audi Rupert Stadler Detained By German Authorities Over Dieselgate Scandal

The chief executive of Audi has been detained by German authorities investigating the "dieselgate" scandal at parent firm Volkswagen.

Prosecutors in Munich said Rupert Stadler - the most senior group official to be held since the emissions saga began almost three years ago - was arrested at home in the early hours following a search of the property last week.

They said his detention was linked to fears he might obstruct their continuing investigation, adding that he had been remanded in custody by a judge.

Audi responded by insisting there was a presumption of innocence in the case involving Mr Stadler, who has led the Audi division since 2007.

It is understood the VW group's supervisory board was to meet later in the day to discuss the development while VW shares closed down 3% on Monday.

The emissions scandal dates back to September 2015, when VW admitted using illegal software to cheat US emissions tests on diesel engines.

It later admitted so-called defeat devices were fitted to more than 11 million of the group's cars worldwide, including 1.2 million in the UK.

The fallout has cost VW more than $30bn to date - the bulk of that sum in the US where, in May, prosecutors filed criminal charges against former VW boss Martin Winterkorn.

But he is unlikely to face any trial there because Germany blocks extradition requests to countries outside the EU.

The focus of the dieselgate scandal has since fallen on Germany, where the authorities are conducting a number of investigations which include alleged fraud at VW.

Daimler, which owns the Mercedes brand, became the latest manufacturer to face scrutiny last week when Germany's transport ministry ordered the recall of hundreds of thousands of vehicles over diesel emissions software.

The outrage over testing has not been limited to cars.

It emerged in January that an agency - funded by VW, Daimler and BMW - had carried out tests on monkeys in 2014 in an attempt to demonstrate diesel engine emissions were not as harmful to health as campaigners claim.

Dr Thomas Steg, a public relations chief at VW, later took full responsibility for the tests.

Credit: James Sillars, sky news

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