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Dieselgate. Rupert Sadler, former chairman of Audi, convicted

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Former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler has been sentenced by a court in Munich to a suspended prison sentence of one year and nine months, as well as a €1.1 million fine in a case involving the manipulation of engine emission test results – these are the first sentences in the Dieselgate scandal.

Stadler, who maintained his innocence for many years, only in May, when it turned out that he was facing a prison sentence, decided to settle and admitted to omissions and too late reaction to reports of irregularities.

Dieselgate – Rupert Sadler convicted

The ruling issued on Tuesday is the first criminal verdict in trials related to Dieselgate, also known as the Volkswagen scandal, which shook the German automotive industry and caused billions of dollars in damage to the industry, reminds the dpa agency. As the company itself informed, the scandal cost it over 32 billion euros spent on compensation, car replacement and legal costs.

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The Dieselgate case broke out in September 2015, when the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that the software controlling diesel engines in cars of the Volkswagen Group – which Audi belongs to – deliberately showed an untrue, underestimated value of exhaust gas emissions, masking up to 40 times the US emission limit standards. The company admitted to these manipulations.

Stadler was accused not of mere machinations related to the engine software, but of failing to react to reports of irregularities and withdrawing cars with manipulated systems too late. He pleaded guilty and was convicted of fraud. The trial in this case lasted almost three years.

Rupert Stadler in court

Two senior Audi executives who were directly involved in the creation of the fraudulent software were also tried together with the former head of Audi. The two had previously agreed to a settlement and admitted to tampering with the software so that emission values ​​met the standards during testing, but not during normal operation. Wolfgang Hatz was sentenced to two years of probation and 400,000 fines. € fine, Giovanni Pamio – one year and nine months suspended prison and 50,000. fines. Stadler had previously agreed to pay €4.1 million in compensation to his former employer.

Both the prosecution and the court admitted that they did not consider Stadler, Hatz and Pamio to be most responsible for Dieselgate. It is doubtful that it would be possible to identify one main person responsible in a situation where “so many people in this company have gone in the wrong direction” – said the chairman of the jury, Stefan Wickert, in his final speech.

Proceedings in civil, labor and administrative courts are still pending in connection with Deiselgate, as well as a trial against Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn from 2007-15, which was however suspended due to the defendant’s poor health. As part of an earlier settlement, Winterkorn agreed to pay €11.2 million in damages to his former employer.

Main photo source: ENEX

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