18 June 2018, Sweetcrude, Lagos — The head of Volkswagen, VW’s luxury arm Audi, Rupert Stadler has been arrested over an emission test cheating scandal.
Munich prosecutors said Stadler was taken in on Monday and is being detained due to fears he might hinder an ongoing investigation into the scandal, plunging Volkswagen into a leadership crisis, according to Reuters.
News of the arrest comes following VW’s new group chief executive officer, Herbert Diess attempt to put in place a new leadership structure, which includes Stadler, and speed up the group’s shift towards electric vehicles.
“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,” the Munich prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
A judge in Germany ordered that Stadler is remanded in custody, it said, to prevent him from obstructing or hindering the diesel investigation.
Audi and VW confirmed the arrest and reiterated Stadler is innocent of the allegation.
A spokesman for Porsche SE, the company that controls VW and Audi, said Stadler’s arrest would be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Monday.
VW admitted in September 2015 to using illegal software to cheat U.S. emissions tests on diesel engines, sparking the biggest crisis in the company’s history and leading to a regulatory crackdown across the auto industry.
The United States filed criminal charges against former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn in May, but he is unlikely to face U.S. authorities because Germany does not extradite its nationals to countries outside the European Union.
The Munich prosecutors said Stadler’s arrest was not made at the behest of U.S. authorities. The executive was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt, in the early hours on Monday, they said.