Another Four Ex-Audi Officials Charged in Diesel Scandal
Prosecutors in Munich have charged three former Audi board members and a retired department chief with fraud in covering up diesel engine emission cheating.
The new indictments relate to more than 434,000 Audi and Porsche vehicles equipped with diesels—primarily V6 powerplants—that had been rigged to evade emission tests. Most were sold in Europe and the U.S.
5 Years and Counting
The cheater diesels were revealed by U.S. regulators in September 2015. Volkswagen Group eventually admitted manipulating about 550,000 4- and 6-cylinder diesels sold in the U.S. and 10.5 million sold by the group’s Audi, Porsche, Skoda and VW brands elsewhere.
Audi was responsible for the group’s V6 diesel development program at the time.
Prosecutors didn’t reveal the names of their four latest targets. But they say the three ex-board members indicted were aware of the cheating as early as 2013, yet continued to sell the doctored engines as “clean” diesels. The department head presumably had a role in developing the illegal emission control system.
Let the Probes Begin
VW commissioned an independent investigation into the scandal early on but has never released the results publicly.
But prosecutors in Germany and the U.S. have dribbled out a long list of former high-level executives implicated, suspended, charged and/or arrested at Volkswagen Group and its units since 2015.
Among those on the list are:
- Group Chairman Ferdinand Piech
- Group Chairman Hans-Dieter Poetsch
- Group CEO Martin Winterkorn
- Group CEO Matthias Mueller
- Audi CEO Rupert Stadler
- Audi chief engineer Ulrich Hackenberg
- Audi technical development chief Stefan Knirsch
- Audi diesel development chief Richard Bauder
- Audi engine development chief Axel Eiser
- Audi engine registration chief Carsten Nagel
- Porsche engine chief Wolfgang Hatz
- Porsche powertrain development chief Joerg Kerner
- VW brand product developer head Heinz-Jakob Neusser
- VW powertrain electronics chief Hanno Jelden
- VW quality control chief Frank Tuch
- VW Group U.S. emissions engineering chief Oliver Schmidt
What It Means
When the diesel scandal began, VW Group initially suggested it was all the doing of a small cadre of a dozen or so midlevel managers acting on their own.
Outside investigators were skeptical. As time has indicated, they have reason to keep digging.
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