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Audi CEO Stadler to testify before public prosecutors in 'dieselgate' scandal

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-06-19 22:44
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File photo: Rupert Stadler, CEO of German automaker Audi, speaks on the the annual press conference in Ingolstadt, Germany, on March 3, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]

BERLIN - Audi chief executive officer (CEO) Rupert Stadler wants to testify before judicial authorities following his recent arrest over the German diesel emissions scandal, the Munich II State Prosecution office confirmed on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the state prosecution office told Handelsblatt newspaper that Stadler was "willing to talk" at a still undefined date.

Stadler was taken into police custody on Monday. The prosecution office subsequently informed press that an arrest warrant had been delivered to the CEO because of a danger of collusion posed by the suspect.

The Audi CEO and another unnamed senior manager at the company are both suspected of committing fraud and "indirect false certification" in the European marketing of diesel vehicles, which were fitted with illicit defeat devices to understate their actual Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) emissions.

German investigators believe the luxury car maker has sold at least 210,000 diesel vehicles with illegal emissions-cheating software in the United States and Europe since 2009.

According to prosecutors, Stadler must have been aware of the illicit practices following the first revelations in the United States back in 2015, but still refused to halt sales of affected vehicles in Europe thereafter.

The prosecution office was unwilling to reveal the name of the prison into which Stadler had been taken into custody on Tuesday. The investigators merely emphasized that he was being held in a different location from that of Volkswagen manager Wolfgang Hatz, who was also arrested earlier for his alleged involvement in the diesel emissions scandal.

According to Handelsblatt, Stadler is set to be replaced temporarily at Audi by Bram Schot. Volkswagen Group, the parent company of Audi, has repeatedly emphasized that it is cooperating fully with German authorities in their investigations.

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