Dieselgate Accusations Audi Board Backs CEO

Audi's supervisory board on Friday backed the carmaker's embattled CEO Rupert Stadler, saying allegations brought up against him by an ex-employee in connection with the diesel emissions scandal were untrue.
Quelle: dpa
Audi CEO Rupert Stadler at a Paris presentation late last year.
(Source: dpa)

Audi Chief Executive Rupert Stadler is staying in office. In a statement on Friday, the company's supervisory board said it was rejecting allegations against the 53-year-old by a former engine developer who implicated Mr. Stadler in court in connection with the Dieselgate scandal.

Audi is the luxury carmaker subsidiary of Volkswagen Group, which is still burdened by the diesel emissions manipulation that became public in September 2015.

On behalf of the Audi supervisory board, law firm Gleiss Lutz examined the allegations brought up by a former Audi employee. "This examination comes to the conclusion that the allegations against Mr. Stadler are not accurate," Audi said in a statement.

Last week, Handelsblatt learned Audi had fired four engineers in leading positions, including former head of engine development Ulrich Weiss, who implicated Mr. Stadler in connection with the scandal.

Mr. Weiss had already been put on paid leave since the end of 2015, a couple of months after Volkswagen admitted to falsifying the diesel emissions of 11 million cars worldwide, including its VW brand, as well as Audi, Porsche and Skoda.

Mr. Weiss appeared in a labor court in Stuttgart last week and presented documents which allegedly show Mr. Stadler knew about the installation of fraudulent emissions software from at least 2012. Mr. Weiss is suing Audi to get his job back, arguing that he was just the fall guy for Audi’s role in Dieselgate.

After the lawsuit was dismissed by the court in Stuttgart, the labor court in the southwestern German city of Heilbronn started proceedings this week.

In Friday's statement, Matthias Müller, Audi's supervisory board chairman and CEO of parent company VW Group, said: "The documents submitted to the labor court in Heilbronn have been known for some time and do not prove the accusations. The supervisory board expresses its confidence in Rupert Stadler. "