Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany on Monday in connection to the diesel emissions scandal that broke in 2015. Stadler is one of 20 current or former Audi employees under criminal investigation related to potential fraud.
Officials said the executive was detained over concerns he might seek to suppress evidence, reports the BBC. Audi confirmed to media sources that Stadler was taken into custody, although it wouldn’t comment about the ongoing investigations. “The presumption of innocence continues to apply for Mr. Stadler,” an Audi spokesman told NPR.
Munich prosecutors said last week they had searched Stadler’s home for evidence. Stadler, who has worked with Audi since 1990 and became chairman of the board in 2007, is under investigation for alleged “fraud and indirect improprieties with documents,” reports The Associated Press.
Just a week ago, German prosecutors fined Volkswagen $1.2 billion for diesel cheating. Volkswagen Group has admitted to using software that helped cars pass pollution tests but then disabled the emissions controls in real-world driving. Another high profile figure under scrutiny in the diesel scandal is former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, who was indicted in May on charges of conspiracy and fraud related to the emissions cheating.
According to prosecutors, Stadler could be released as early as next week if he cooperates with investigators. Last month, Audi said it discovered emissions-related problems in an additional 60,000 cars. Audi had halted deliveries of A6 and A7s with a certain type of diesel engine after it found a previously unidentified issue with emissions software.