Car Industry

VW Group delays decision on jailed Audi CEO Rupert Stadler, report says

Stadler was arrested for his alleged role in VW Group's Dieselgate scandal.

Update, 4:15 p.m. ET: This story and its headline have been updated with new information.

In June, German authorities arrested Audi CEO Rupert Stadler for his alleged role in VW Group's diesel scandal, and Audi subsequently named a new interim CEO. While an earlier report made it appears the company was ready to part ways with Stadler entirely, the decision for his fate has been reportedly delayed

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier on Friday that the board of directors for Volkswagen Group was preparing to terminate Rupert Stadler's contract, citing sources familiar with the matter. WSJ's source said an official announcement to this end could occur as soon as today, following a board meeting in Wolfsburg, Germany, but it appears that will not happen. According to Automotive News Europe, VW's board has postponed the decision on Stadler. 

A spokesperson for Volkswagen Group did not immediately return a request for comment. 

"It is out of the question that Rupert Stadler can come back from this," one of the sources told The Wall Street Journal. "The discussion now is just about how to terminate his contract, it's up to the lawyers." It appears the lawyers aren't quite ready to cut that contract up.

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

Stadler was arrested back in June over concerns that he might obstruct the German government's investigation into Audi's diesel malfeasance. The automaker admitted in 2015 to having illegal "defeat devices" in its vehicles that would allow a vehicle to emit legal amounts of pollution in testing situations, only to pollute beyond legal limits once the vehicle was on the road.

The automaker has since paid out tens of billions of dollars in buybacks, repairs and fines, and officially releasing Stadler will be yet another step by Volkswagen as it attempts to move past its prior misdeeds. Volkswagen has spent upwards of $30 billion in the US alone as a result of the Dieselgate scandal, including creating Electrify America, a brand-agnostic company focused on increasing EV awareness with consumers.

Germany isn't the only country interested in holding VW Group executives and employees accountable. Former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn faces charges in the US, but Germany will not extradite him. The US has already sentenced James Liang, a former VW engineer, to 40 months in federal prison, as well. 

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