Former head of Audi to confess in 'dieselgate' fraud trial

Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler will issue a confession in the trial over falsified emissions values in the company's diesel cars, his lawyer has said.

A car exhaust pipe (DW)
A car exhaust pipe (DW)


Rupert Stadler, the former head of German car manufacturer Audi, has said he will plead guilty in his trial over falsified emissions test results for the company's diesel cars — commonly referred to as the "dieselgate" scandal — his lawyers announced on Wednesday.

Stadler agreed to a deal put forward by in the district court in Munich that calls for a suspended sentence and a €1.1 million ($1.21 million) fine.

Why is Stadler on trial?

Stadler had maintained his innocence for the two-and-a-half years since the trial started.

He became the first top executive to stand trial in the scandal that hit Volkswagen, Audi's parent company, and other subsidiaries.

German car giant Volkswagen — whose subsidiaries include Porsche, Audi, Skoda and Seat — admitted in September 2015 that it had installed software to rig emissions in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide, making them appear less polluting in test environments than they really were on the road.

Stadler has been accused of continuing to sell cars with the manipulation software after finding out about it, but another Audi and Porsche manager, Wolfgang Hatz, who is being tried alongside Stadler and two other Audi engineers, has been charged with the responsibility for actually installing the software.

The prosecution has rejected the option of agreeing to a suspended sentence for Hatz who is still facing the possibility of being locked up.

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