Car Industry

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler arrested in diesel scandal investigation

The automaker will likely name an interim CEO while this gets sorted out.

Audi

Even though buybacks and fixes are in full swing around the world, the fallout from Volkswagen's diesel scandal continues with a high-profile arrest.

German authorities have arrested Rupert Stadler, Audi's CEO, Reuters reports. Audi AG confirmed the arrest in an email and pointed out that Stadler is innocent until proven guilty, declining to comment further.

Stadler was CEO of Audi when it admitted to being a part of Dieselgate, yet he held he position in the years that followed.

Audi

Reuters also reports that Audi will appoint an interim CEO while Stadler is being held, citing Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. The appointment will come from a board meeting that is set to convene some time on Monday.

Stadler is being held because the police are concerned that he might obstruct the investigation into Audi's diesel vehicles. 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.

Despite the admission in 2015, German prosecutors only recently expanded their probe into Audi's business to include Stadler and another high-ranking official. Munich's authorities last week slapped VW with a €1B (roughly $1.2B) fine stemming from the scandal.

Things have been much worse for the automaking giant in the US. Former VW CEO Martin Winterkorn faces multiple charges in the US, but he is currently in Germany, which will not extradite him. The US has offered a promise of safe passage to its current CEO, Herbert Diess. James Liang, a former VW engineer, was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison last August. So far, the company has spent upward of $30 billion in the US as a result of its diesel malfeasance.