German police arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler Monday, June 18 in connection with the almost three year-long Volkswagen diesel crisis investigation that has shifted to Audi and Porsche in recent months.
Earlier in the month, at least 60,000 Audi A6 and A7 cars across Europe were called in to remove the illegal software. The 55-year-old was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday, they said.
Stadler was CEO of Audi when it admitted to being a part of Dieselgate, yet he held he position in the years that followed.
Munich prosecutors told the state-owned broadcaster that they swooped on Stadler over fears he might try to suppress evidence in the ongoing Dieselgate investigation.
Volkswagen declined 2.2 percent to 157.88 euros and traded 2 percent lower at 11:50 a.m.in local trading, extending losses this year to 5.2 percent. German police searched Audi factories and offices in March 2017, also conducting searches at the German offices of US law firm Jones Day. Before becoming Audi CEO in 2007, Stadler worked as chief of staff to VW's former chairman Ferdinand Piech. He was named a suspect by the Munich prosecutor's office alongside an unnamed member of Audi's board of management.
Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the United States and nine managers, including former CEO Martin Winterkorn, were charged there.
Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said VW's supervisory board had already picked Schot for the job and only needed the formal approval of Audi's directors. In 2015, it was discovered that when certain Volkswagen models undergo testing, a sophisticated software algorithm would kick in and full emissions controls would be turned on.
USA prosecutors also indicted Winterkorn last month, saying he knew of the company's emissions cheating as early as May 2014 but made a decision to continue.