Ex-Audi boss convicted of fraud after pleading guilty in German automaker’s diesel emissions scandal


Rupert Stadler, former CEO of German car manufacturer Audi, sits in a regional court room and waits for the verdict in Munich, Germany, Tuesday, June 27, 2023. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, Pool)

BERLIN – A German court found ex-Audi boss Rupert Stadler guilty of fraud in connection with the automaker’s diesel emissions scandal Tuesday, making him the highest-ranking executive convicted over cars that cheated on emissions tests with the help of illegal software.

The Munich regional court handed Stadler a suspended prison sentence of 21 months and ordered him to pay a large fine as part of an agreement between his lawyers, the judge and prosecutors after he pleaded guilty last month, German news agency dpa reported.

The former head of Volkswagen’s luxury division admitted wrongdoing and regret for his failure to keep rigged cars off the market even after the scandal had become public knowledge.

Three lower-ranking managers also took plea deals in the 2 1/2-year-long trial in Munich.

Stadler had been charged with fraud and false certification by prosecutors who said he let cars with rigged software be sold even after the scheme was uncovered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in September 2015.

The scandal cost Volkswagen more than $30 billion in fines and settlements and saw two U.S. executives sent to prison.

It pushed the entire auto industry away from reliance on diesel engines, which had been almost half the auto market in Europe, and helped accelerate the shift to electric vehicles.

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