German authorities have taken Rupert Stadler, chief executive officer of Volkswagen AG’s Audi unit, into custody, making him the highest-profile arrest in the group’s diesel-cheating probes.
Munich prosecutors, who have been investigating Audi’s role in the 2015 scandal, confirmed they arrested the manager in the Bavarian capital because of the risk he may tamper with evidence, according to an emailed statement Monday.
Volkswagen, which last week agreed to pay a fine of 1 billion euros (US$1.2 billion) imposed by German prosecutors, confirmed the arrest.
Nearly three years on from the scandal, VW faces a multitude of probes both in Germany and abroad, with legal proceedings in 55 countries pending and investigations into stock-market manipulation in its home market. The company has earmarked more than 27 billion euros in fines, buybacks and costs. Investors have accused the company of informing investors too late about the probe, a view the carmaker has contested, saying it couldn’t have known the issue would balloon as it did.
By Elisabeth Behrmann