Audi CEO Stadler arrested on risk he may suppress evidence

Audi CEO detained in diesel emissions case

The chief executive of Audi, the luxury automaker owned by Volkswagen, was arrested Monday on suspicion of fraud in relation to the German vehicle maker's emissions-cheating scandal.

Prosecutors said they feared Stadler might seek to suppress evidence in connection with a diesel emissions probe, prompting his arrest.

The Munich prosecutors said Stadler's arrest was not made at the behest of U.S. authorities.

Audi admitted in November 2015 that its vehicles also contained the illegal "defeat devices" that allowed parent company Volkswagen to circumvent emissions regulations and sell vehicles that were worse for the environment than promised.

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Audi has been caught up in the diesel emissions scandal that has plagued VW.

A spokesperson for Porsche SE, which controls VW and Audi, said Stadler's arrest would be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Monday. Leading companies have been rocked by the self-inflicted diesel emissions scandal. "Therefore we issued an immediate arrest warrant", Stephan Necknig, a spokesman for the Munich prosecutor's office, told German tabloid Bild, explaining the reasons for Stadler's arrest.

Three years after U.S. authorities uncovered long-standing emissions cheating by Volkswagen, Germany's slow-moving criminal investigation seems to making headway. He has been CEO since 2007, and a member of the Volkswagen board since 2010.

Currently, 20 people are under the scanner for their involvement, and nine Volkswagen managers have already been charged in the US.

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But investigations are continuing elsewhere.

Volkswagen is also accused of stock market manipulation in Germany, and investors have said they were informed too late of the company's problems with the cheating scandal.

"Audi needs a new start", he said.

Stadler had previously denied any knowledge that engines were rigged, and his arrest comes just days after VW agreed to pay a $1.2-billion fine imposed at the request of German prosecutors.

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Schot, Audi's head of sales and marketing, joined Volkswagen from Daimler AG in 2011 and has held roles in its commercial vehicles unit.

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