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Ex-Audi boss appeals ‘dieselgate’ conviction – AFR

Audi’s former chief executive is appealing against his conviction over the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal that rocked the car industry, a German court said Tuesday.

Rupert Stadler, the highest-ranking former executive to be found guilty over the saga, was last week handed a suspended sentence of one year and nine months and a fine of 1.1 million euros ($1.2 million).

But he avoided jail time after striking a plea deal, under which he admitted fraud by negligence.

However, a spokesman for the Munich district court said in statement that the 60-year-old was now appealing the verdict, without stating the grounds for the challenge.

German car giant Volkswagen — whose subsidiaries include Porsche, Audi, Skoda and Seat — plunged into crisis after admitting in September 2015 it had installed software to rig emission levels in 11 million diesel vehicles worldwide.

The so-called defeat devices made the vehicles appear less polluting in lab tests than they were on the road.

Stadler went on trial in 2020 and initially denied the charges against him, before deciding in May to strike a plea deal.

He admitted he had neglected to inform business partners that cars with defeat devices were still going on the market even after the scandal became public knowledge.

Volkswagen had always insisted that the diesel trickery was the work of a handful of lower-level employees acting without the knowledge of their superiors.

Stadler himself was not accused of instigating the scam.

Two co-defendants, former Audi and Porsche manager Wolfgang Hatz and an Audi engineer, are also appealing their convictions, the court said. 

Like Stadler, they were given suspended sentences and fines last week.

However, in the case of Hatz, prosecutors are also appealing the court’s verdict.

They had originally sought jail time for the executive, who admitted to judges that he had helped arrange the installation of emissions-cheating software.

Before the appeals are heard, the court will produce its full written judgements, and has until April next year to do so. The challenges are to be heard before Germany’s top criminal court.

The “dieselgate” saga shocked Germany and has cost VW billions of euros in fines, legal costs and compensation, mainly in the United States.

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