Audi boss Rupert Stadler arrested over suspected fraud in diesel emission scandal

The Munich prosecutor's office is reportedly working towards the investigation of 19 other suspects, identities of whom haven't been disclosed, yet.

Munich prosecutors searched Stadler's private residence last week in their investigation of suspected fraud and indirect improprieties with documents.

In April, Stuttgart authorities arrested a senior engine manager at the company's luxury Porsche brand, after conducting raids at 10 sites as part of a long-running probe.

News of the arrest comes as Volkswagen's (VW) new group CEO Herbert Diess is trying to introduce a new leadership structure, which includes Stadler, to speed up a shift toward electric vehicles in the wake of its "dieselgate" troubles.

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.

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Volkswagen, which last week agreed to pay a fine of €1 billion ($1.2 billion) imposed by German prosecutors, confirmed the arrest. The executive was arrested at his home in Ingolstadt in the early hours on Monday, they said.

Volkswagen first admitted in 2015 of using software to cheat on USA emissions tests.

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 hearing to determine whether he will be remanded is ongoing".

Volkswagen admitted that almost 600,000 cars sold in the U.S. were fitted with "defeat devices" created to circumvent emissions tests. The same goes for Munich prosecutors and Stadler. According to reports, the entire scandal has taken a heavy toll on the German auto manufacturers as it has cost it about 25 billion euros in buybacks, compensation and regulatory fines.

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