Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler was handed a suspended sentence of one year and nine months by a Munich court on Tuesday for fraud by negligence in the 2015 diesel scandal, becoming the first former Volkswagen (ETR: VOWG_p) board member to receive such a sentence. The ex-boss was fined 1.1 million euros ($1.20 million), which will go to the state treasury and non-governmental organisations, the court said.The sentence is in the middle of the 1.5-2 year timeframe the judge had said the former CEO would face if he confessed to the charge. His lawyer Ulrike Thole-Groll said in May that Stadler did not know that vehicles had been manipulated and buyers had been harmed, but recognized it was a possibility and accepted that there was a need for more care. Prosecutors had originally wanted a 2-million-euro fine, citing Stadler’s salaries at Audi and Volkswagen and his financial and real estate assets. Stadler’s trial, one of the most prominent court proceedings in the aftermath of the diesel scandal, has been ongoing since 2020.Audi’s parent group Volkswagen and Audi admitted in 2015 to having used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests. According to prosecutors, engineers manipulated engines in such a way that they complied with legal exhaust emission values on the test bench but not on the road. Stadler was accused of failing to stop the sale of the manipulated cars after the scandal became known.He had previously rejected the allegations. Former Audi executive Wolfgang Hatz, also on trial with Stadler, was sentenced to a two-year suspended sentence with a 400,000 euro fine, while the third defendant – engineer Giovanni P. – was handed a year and nine months and a 50,000 euro fine.
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February 15, 2021