Dhe district court in Munich has promised former Audi boss Rupert Stadler a suspended sentence if he confesses. Stadler and three co-defendants have been on trial for two and a half years over manipulated diesel vehicles and possible fraud.
According to a preliminary assessment of the evidence so far, Stadler, the former head of Audi engine development Wolfgang Hatz and the chief engineer Giovanni P. could also be sentenced to probation with full confession at this stage of the proceedings, said Chairman Stefan Weickert on Tuesday in Munich. For the only fourth defendant who has fully confessed so far, the case may be dropped.
The three engine developers are said to have manipulated diesel engines for cars from Audi, VW and Porsche from 2008 onwards in such a way that they passed emissions tests, but emitted more nitrogen oxide on the road than permitted. Stadler is said to have only found out about it after the scandal was uncovered in the US in 2015, but only stopped the production and sale of manipulated cars in Europe in 2018. He has so far rejected the allegations and sees himself deceived by his engineers.
After a preliminary assessment, however, the chamber came to the conclusion that Stadler should have followed up on the internal investigations by lawyers at Audi and the findings of the Federal Motor Transport Authority in July 2016 and should have recognized the possibility of trickery.