Audi boss Rupert Stadler arrested in dieselgate investigation

Rupert Stadler’s is the highest-profile arrest in the Volkswagen group’s diesel-cheating probes

Before becoming Audi CEO in 2007, Stadler worked as chief of staff to VW's former chairman Ferdinand Piech. The arrest has been made in connection with Audi's parent company Volkswagen's role in emissionsgate (dieselgate).

Prosecutors pushed for Stadler's arrest over fears that he might try to evade justice, dpa reported. Stadler has denied any involvement. The luxury carmaker is also being investigated for allegations of fraud and illegal product promotion.

Audi has not yet commented on the matter. The 55-year-old was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday, they said.

A spokesman for Volkswagen, which owns Audi, confirmed he had been arrested on Monday.

It was the company's biggest crisis and led to a regulatory crackdown across the auto industry.

Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive officer of Volkswagen, was indicted in May by USA prosecutors.

And The Associated Press reports that Stadler, who has spent almost 30 years working for Audi, is under investigation for "fraud and indirect improprieties with documents".

"The principle of the presumption of innocence continues to apply to Stadler", he added.

Stadler has held onto his post mainly thanks to the backing of members of VW's controlling Porsche-Piech families.

A judge in Germany has ordered Stadler be remanded in custody, it said, to prevent him from obstructing or hindering the diesel investigation.

The diesel investigation, conducted by prosecutors in Munich and Braunschweig and coordinated with the U.S. Department of Justice, has shifted to Audi and Porsche in the last two years.

The scandal has so far cost the VW group more than €25 billion (£22bn) in buybacks, fines and compensation.

A judge has ordered him to remain in detention on suspicion that he may supress evidence or collude with fellow executives that are due to meet at a Volkswagen Group Supervisory Board meeting later this week, where lawyers were expected to present information in defence of 20 senior VW Group employees now under investigation. Munich's authorities last week slapped VW with a €1B (roughly $1.2B) fine stemming from the scandal.

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