Rupert Stadler, CEO of Audi between 2010 and 2018, will soon confess to his role in Volkswagen Group’s Dieselgate emissions cheating scheme.
Stadler’s legal team told Automotive News he will make a full confession to a German court, and will pay a fine of €1.1 million ($1.8 million) in exchange for a suspended sentence.
Stadler, along with Wolfgang Hatz, the Volkswagen Group’s former head of engine development, and Giovanni Pamio, Audi’s head of thermodynamics in the engine engineering department, were charged with fraud for knowingly selling cars that were not compliant with emissions standards.
A number of diesel engine lines, developed by Audi and sold by various brands in the Volkswagen Group, were sold with software that could detect when they were undergoing bench testing. In those situations, the engines would scale back power output to limit exhaust output, but in the real world the engines would far exceed emissions regulations.
The confession will likely take place on May 16. It is still up to the judge to decide if the confession is complete, and then hand down a final verdict.
A confession from Stadler had been expected since late March when Stefan Weickert, the presiding judge in the case, released a preliminary assessment stating the fraud charges were substantiated, but the other charges relating to falsification of documents and false advertising were not.
Stadler and his co-defendants were also told they would only be given a suspended sentence if they made a “full confession”.
If they hold on to their claims of innocence, the judge said the men would likely face at least a year-and-a-half behind bars. The maximum penalty for fraud is 10 years.
Stadler has already spent a tad over four months in detention. He was arrested in June 2018 as prosecutors believed he may be trying to suppress evidence related to the government’s Dieselgate investigation. After being denied bail in August, he was finally set free at the end of October that year.
During his time in custody, he was fired by Audi and the Volkswagen Group. He had previously stated he was unaware of the cheating scheme until it became public knowledge in late 2015.
Stadler toed the company line the Dieselgate affair was the work of a rogue band of engineers with no involvement from upper management.