Head of VW's Audi arrested in Germany over 'dieselgate'

Munich prosecutors who have been investigating Audi’s role in the 2015 scandal confirmed they arrested Rupert Stadler in the Bavarian capital

The CEO of German vehicle manufacturer Audi was arrested Monday as part of a probe by authorities into emissions tests cheating, the Munich prosecutor's office said.

"We will comment on this later", the person added.

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".

Stadler was arrested earlier today after prosecutors in Munich suggested there was a risk he might try to suppress evidence and hinder their investigation.

The arrest of Stadler comes a week after Munich prosecutors formally identified him as a suspect in an investigation into Volkswagen's use of software to deceive regulators about the emissions of its diesel vehicles.

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Munich prosecutors said last week they had searched Stadler's home for evidence.

Just last month, Audi acknowledged that an additional 60,000 cars had been discovered to have "emissions-related problems", Reuters reported.

Authorities last week widened the emissions cheating probe into Volkswagen's luxury brand Audi to include Stadler among the suspects accused of fraud and false advertising. Winterkorn was charged with conspiracy and wire fraud in an effort to mislead USA regulators about the automaker's diesel emissions cheating.

Stadler has been Audi CEO since January 2010.

Audi admitted to having used illegal defeat devices to manipulate its cars' emissions in November 2015; Stadler has been CEO since 2007.

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Reuters also reports that Audi will appoint an interim CEO while Stadler is being held, citing Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

It said it had installed software in 11 million diesel cars worldwide that could tell when they were being tested and cut their emissions. Two are serving prison terms, while Winterkorn and the others remain in Germany with no indications that they will be extradited to the U.S. Germany is now said to be investigating a total of 50 people in connection to the scandal.

VW and Audi both confirmed the CEO's arrest and reiterated that a presumption of innocence remained for Stadler.

Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to the criminal charges pressed against the company where two managers are serving prison time in US.

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