Former Audi CEO charged over Dieselgate role

Rupert Stadler is one of four men charged overnight by German authorities for their role in selling cars with emissions testing defeat devices.
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Former Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, has been formally charged over his alleged role in the Dieselgate emissions cheating scandal.

A statement from the Munich public prosecutors office stated Stadler is "accused of having been aware of the manipulations since the end of September 2015, at the latest, but he did not prevent the sale of affected Audi and Volkswagen vehicles thereafter”.

Stadler was the head of Audi from 2010 until his arrest in 2018 over “evidence suppression” fears. He quit the company during his months-long stay in jail.

Prosecutors have yet to name the other three men charged, but sources have told Automotive News they include Wolfgang Hatz and two other engineers.

Hatz was previously the head of research and engineering at Porsche, as well as the powertrain development chief at Audi and the broader Volkswagen Group.

He was arrested in 2017 before released on bail of €3 million ($4.9 million) in 2018 and forced to handover his passport.

Both Hatz and Stadler have reportedly denied any misconduct, although neither have issued official statements.

Stadler is the second most senior Volkswagen Group employee to be indicted in Germany over the Dieselgate scandal.

In April, Martin Winterkorn, the CEO of the Volkswagen Group from 2007 to 2015, was charged for not informing customers about the company's emissions cheating software and for failing to stop the company from using such software at the earliest possible instance.