[dropcap]R[/dropcap]upert Stadler, the head of Volkswagen’s luxury arm Audi, was arrested on Monday for his alleged role in the Volkswagen Group’s diesel cheating scandal, the company has confirmed.
Stadler, the luxury carmaker’s CEO since 2007 and a VW Group board member since 2010, is the most senior company official so far to be taken into custody over the German carmaker’s decade-long emissions test scandal which was exposed by US regulators nearly three years ago.
The arrest, earlier reported by German weekly Der Spiegel, comes one week after his private apartment was raided by Munich prosecutors. Audi had no further comment on the matter.
Munich prosecutors said Stadler was being detained due to fears he might hinder an ongoing investigation into the scandal, plunging Volkswagen (VW) into a leadership crisis.
News of the arrest comes as VW’s new group CEO Herbert Diess is trying to introduce a new leadership structure, which includes Stadler, and speed up the group’s shift toward electric vehicles in the wake of its emissions scandal.
Martin Winterkorn, the former CEO of VW Group, was charged on four counts for his alleged role by US authorities earlier this year. But he is unlikely to face U.S. authorities because Germany does not extradite its nationals to countries outside the European Union.
The Munich prosecutors said Stadler’s arrest was not made at the behest of U.S. authorities. The executive was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt, in the early hours on Monday, they said.