Former Audi Boss Set to Confess for Role in VW Dieselgate Scandal
Stadler will face a $1.2 million fine and potentially avoid a two-year jail sentence for his involvement in the 2015 Dieselgate scandal.
Remember Dieselgate? It's been nearly a decade since a whistleblower outed Volkswagen and its sister brands in 2015 over tech invented in 1999 that was designed to fool emission testing. Despite the company facing fines worldwide, having involvement in further probes, and being forced to buy back affected cars, the automaker and its problem-era executives are still facing legal backlash.
The latest executive to make headlines is former Audi boss Rupert Stadler. Stadler has been in the news before given that his arrest made for one of the most high-level executive prosecution cases related to Dieselgate. Now, the ex-boss is readying an official confession following a bit of wheeling and dealing over related fines.
As part of Stadler's confession, the judge overseeing the case has agreed to suspend the CEO's potential maximum sentence of two years in prison. He will also face a fine of $1.2 million ($1.1 million Euros).
The former CEO and his defense team will make a statement on May 16—whether Stadler will deliver it personally or through his lawyers is unknown. If the judge buys the statement as a complete confession, they will deliver a verdict to accept the deal agreed upon by both Stadler and prosecutors.
Stadler, who was originally arrested in June 2018, was relieved of his position at Audi while still imprisoned four months later. He was released in October 2018 and has officially been on trial for his fraud-related role in the German automaker's emissions scheme since 2020.
Prosecutors allege that while Stadler may not have directly ordered or known about the development of the diesel emissions defeat devices, he failed to stop the sale of cars equipped with the technology after the scandal became known.
Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn (who was charged with similar allegations) was reportedly made aware of the defeat devices in July 2015. A month later, the company's board knew of the issue, and by September, the EPA issued a "notice of violation" to the company. However, it came to light years later that Audi engineers were well aware of what the company was doing. In fact, in January 2008, an employee in Audi's motor development department told colleagues that the company wouldn't "make it without a few dirty tricks."
In all, Volkswagen and its subsidiaries sold an estimated 11 million cars worldwide equipped with the software—600,000 of which went to buyers in the United States.
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