Former Audi CEO, Rupert Stadler, is reportedly set to make a confession about his involvement in the diesel emissions scandal. In exchange for his confession, Stadler is expected to receive a suspended sentence and pay a sum of 1.1 million euros ($1.21 million). Stadler has been on trial for fraud since 2020 in relation to the scandal that emerged after parent company Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Audi admitted to using illegal software to cheat on emissions tests.
Stadler had previously denied the allegations, but his defence team has confirmed that a statement will be made on May 16th, after which the judge will decide if it amounts to a complete confession. The verdict is expected to be delivered in June. It is not yet clear if Stadler will make the statement personally or through his lawyers.
The deal has been agreed to by prosecutors, and if Stadler confesses, he could avoid a prison sentence of 1.5-2 years, which would be suspended. The trial has been one of the most high-profile court proceedings following the diesel scandal at Volkswagen and Audi, which saw revelations that millions of emissions tests had been manipulated.
According to prosecutors, engineers manipulated engines in such a way that they complied with legal exhaust emission values on the test bench but not on the road. Stadler has been accused of failing to stop the sale of the manipulated cars after the scandal became known. He has been on trial alongside former Audi executive Wolfgang Hatz and an engineer. Hatz and the engineer have already confessed to having manipulated engines.
Audi declined to comment on the matter, saying that it is not a party to the trial. The deal comes after negotiations between Stadler’s defence team, prosecutors and the court, primarily over the amount of money that Stadler would pay in exchange for a suspended sentence. Prosecutors had wanted 2 million euros, citing Stadler’s salaries at Audi and Volkswagen, as well as his financial and real estate assets. However, Stadler’s team initially argued that 1.1 million euros was too high, as he had no current income and faced significant legal costs.
In conclusion, the former Audi boss is expected to make a confession about his role in the diesel emissions scandal in exchange for a suspended sentence and payment of 1.1 million euros. Stadler had previously rejected the allegations but will make a statement on May 16th, which the judge will then review to determine if it amounts to a complete confession. The verdict is expected to be delivered in June.