Criminal charges were officially filed against former Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, earlier today, for his role in the 2015 Volkswagen-Audi emissions cheating scandal that’s become known as “Dieselgate”. The public prosecutor’s office in Munich revealed that Stadler, along with three other defendants, are being formally charged with false certification and criminal advertising practices. Collectively, they are accused of having developed power trains used by Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche branded cars that were equipped emissions-cheating devices.
The charges ultimately come down to “What did Stadler know, and when did he know it?” if I’m reading them correctly. “Defendant Stadler is accused of having been aware of the manipulations since the end of September 2015, at the latest,” reads the prosecutor’s statement. “But, he did not prevent the sale of affected Audi and VW vehicles thereafter.”
Prosecutors in Germany are still investigating as many as 23 other individuals in the matter, according to an Automotive News article that cites Bloomberg– but even that’s not the end of it. More investigations into further corporate wrongdoings are set to be coming, including a probe into illegal stock market manipulation that will target current VW Group CEO Herbert Diess, Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch, and Martin Winterkorn over allegations they informed markets too late about the diesel case and its effect.
For its part, Volkswagen has taken steps to separate its current self from the management group that made Dieselgate possible by pushing for an electric, carbon-neutral future and working hard to establish itself as an EV leader through concepts like the ID.R racer. Volkswagen has also said, though, that it, “couldn’t have anticipated the dramatic fallout from the revelations” of emissions cheating– which reads like, “We’d still be doing it we hadn’t been caught” to me.
What about you guys? Do you think these executives have all this coming, or do you think this is all a massive overreaction? Take a minute to catch up on the history of Volkswagen’s multi-billion dollar emissions scandal, then give us your take in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Sources: Automotive News.