Audi CEO detained amid diesel emissions investigation

The prosecutors' office last week widened its emissions cheating probe into Volkswagen's luxury brand Audi to include Stadler among the suspects accused of fraud and false advertising.

Stadler's detention follows a search last week of his private residence, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating the manager on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents. Audi confirms CEO has been arrested but can not comment further on ongoing investigation.

Audi CEO Rupert Stadler attends company's annual news conference in Ingolstadt, Germany March 15, 2018.

The arrest has been made in connection with Audi's parent company Volkswagen's role in emissionsgate (dieselgate).

Prosecutors in Munich, Stuttgart and Braunschweig are continuing their investigations of the vehicle maker and its units.

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Former VW chief executive Martin Winterkorn stepped down soon after the scandal broke in September 2015, while successor Matthias Mueller was hastily replaced earlier this year.

Audi has also been embroiled in the emissions scandal that has plagued VW.

Volkswagen shares were down 2.1 per cent at 157.66 euros in Frankfurt trading. "The hearing to determine whether he will be remanded is ongoing".

Stadler's arrest will raise tensions on VW's supervisory board, putting at risk a fragile truce between management, labour representatives and board members from the carmaker's home region of Lower Saxony. The major auto group had admitted to equipping roughly 11 million vehicles worldwide with a "cheating software" that was created to illegally pass pollution tests.

Most of its problems have been in the United States, where a total of nine people have been charged and two former VW executives have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison terms. The company has earmarked more than €27 billion in fines, buybacks and costs.

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