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Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler sentenced and fined £1m over diesel scandal

Rupert Stadler is the first ex-Audi and Volkswagen Group board member to be sentenced and fined due to his involvement in the 2015 dieselgate emissions scandal.

Stadler was sentenced by a Munich court to a suspended sentence of one year and nine months, as well as €1.1 million (£940,000) for fraud by negligence.

He has been on trial since 2020 and made a confession on his role in the diesel scandal last month, with Stadler’s lawyer stating that while he did not know vehicles had been manipulated, he did recognise it was a possibility and accepted there was need for more care.

Stadler had previously rejected any allegations of involvement or visibility of the dieselgate scandal.

The judge handed out a lesser sentence due to the confession.

VW Group has been hit with multiple court cases across the globe in the last few years, with the UK dieselgate litigation settling out of court to 70,000 claimaints for £193m last year.

Axel Eiser, the former head of engine development at VW’s Audi facility in Ingolstadt, Germany, was part of a team that realised that Audi diesel engines could not meet American emissions regulations back in 2006.

To solve the problem, engineers developed software – installed in Audis from 2009 to 2016 – that could recognize when a car was being tested and temporarily reduce emissions to legal levels.

In August 2017 James Liang, a former VW engineer who lived in California, also received a 40-month sentence after admitting his involvement in the emissions fraud.

In December that same year Volkswagen compliance executive Oliver Schmidt was sentenced to seven years in jail after pleading guilty to his part in the emissions scandal.

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