Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler will plead guilty over the “dieselgate” vehicle emissions-cheating scandal, a German court said Wednesday, which would make him the first auto CEO to be convicted in the resulting lawsuits.
Stadler will admit guilt after reaching an agreement with the Munich district court over the scandal that rocked Audi’s parent company Volkswagen.
The former CEO has been on trial since 2020 over his role in the scandal after parent group Volkswagen and Audi admitted in 2015 to having used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests. Stadler had previously rejected the allegations.
Stadler’s defence team said a statement would be made in two weeks, after which the judge will decide whether the statement amounts to a complete confession.
Prosecutors also agreed to the deal. A judge had said Stadler faced a prison sentence of 1.5-2 years, which would be suspended if Stadler agreed to make a confession.
The trial is one of the most prominent court proceedings in the aftermath of the diesel scandal at Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi. Revelations that millions of emissions tests had been manipulated emerged in September 2015.
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 was accused of failing to stop the sale of the manipulated cars after the scandal became known.
Stadler has been on trial along with former Audi executive Wolfgang Hatz and an engineer. Hatz and the engineer confessed to having manipulated engines.