Former Audi CEO Stadler avoids imprisonment in diesel scandal, receives fine

Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been sentenced to a suspended term of one year and nine months for negligence-based fraud in connection with the 2015 Volkswagen Group diesel scandal. This marks the first time a former member of the VW Group board has received such a sentence.

The court in Munich has imposed a fine of 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million) on Stadler, which will be directed towards the state treasury and non-governmental organizations.

In 2015, Audi’s parent company, VW Group, and Audi itself admitted to using illegal software to deceive emissions tests. Stadler had previously denied the allegations.

Stadler’s trial is one of the most high-profile legal proceedings following the diesel scandal. The sentence falls within the 1.5 to 2-year timeframe that the judge had indicated Stadler would face if he confessed to the charges.

Ulrike Thole-Groll, Stadler’s lawyer, stated in May that Stadler was unaware of the vehicle manipulation and resulting harm to buyers, but acknowledged the possibility and recognized the need for greater caution.

According to prosecutors, engineers manipulated engines to comply with legal emission standards during tests but not while on the road.

Stadler, aged 60, was accused of allowing the sale of affected diesel cars in Europe even after US authorities revealed the engine-rigging. He had initially maintained his innocence, attributing the failure to uncover the extensive cheating to the engineers. However, he confessed in May.

Initially, prosecutors sought a fine of 2 million euros, taking into account Stadler’s salaries at Audi and Volkswagen, as well as his financial and real estate assets.

Two other former Audi executives, Wolfgang Hatz and Giovanni Pamio, who were on trial alongside Stadler, also received suspended sentences and fines.

 

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