German prosecutor charges former Audi boss over diesel scandal

Source: Xinhua| 2019-07-31 22:33:48|Editor: yan
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BERLIN, July 31 (Xinhua) -- In connection with the diesel emissions scandal, the Munich public prosecutor's office on Wednesday announced that it had brought charges against Rupert Stadler, the former boss of the German luxury carmaker Audi.

Stadler and three other defendants were accused of "fraud, indirect false certification and criminal advertising", according to the Munich public prosecutor.

Stadler was accused of having been aware of manipulations to diesel engines "by the end of September 2015 at the latest and nevertheless continuing to cause or not preventing the sale of affected Audi and Volkswagon vehicles", the German prosecution stated.

The three other defendants -- two former and one current Audi employee -- were accused of having designed engines for the German car brands Audi, Volkswagon and Porsche "whose controls were equipped with an inadmissible software function".

Audi said in a statement that the charges against the accused should be seen separately from the proceedings against Audi, which were concluded in October 2018 with a fine of 800 million euros (891.6 million U.S. dollars).

It was in everyone's interest to "completely clear up" the facts that led to the diesel crisis, said Audi, which is part of the Volkswagen Group.

Audi said it was continuing to cooperate fully with the authorities as "clarification is a prerequisite for a successful new start. We have learned from our past and are using it as an opportunity".

The Munich public prosecutor's office said that the indictment included more than 250,000 Audi vehicles, 71,577 Volkswagen vehicles and 112,131 Porsche vehicles which had "been sold in particular on the U.S. and European markets".

The economic criminal chamber of the Munich Regional Court would now decide whether the indictment would be admitted and a trial scheduled, according to the German prosecution.

Back in June 2018, former Audi boss Stadler had been arrested as part of a broader probe into emissions cheating at Audi and spent several months in prison.

In addition to the Munich public prosecutor's office, prosecutors in Brunswick were also investigating the diesel scandal and had charged former Volkswagen chief executive officer (CEO) Martin Winterkorn and four other persons in April with serious fraud and unfair competition.

The Volkswagen diesel scandal, in which Audi played a major role, was revealed in the United States in September 2015 when Volkswagen admitted that it had manipulated diesel exhaust gases using software.

The manipulated software detected whether a vehicle was on the test bench and only then complied with the nitrogen oxide values. On the road, the exhaust values were many times higher.