Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler arrested

Audi A8

The CEO of German carmaker Audi, Rupert Stadler, was detained Monday in Munich as part of an ongoing investigation into emissions cheating, the city prosecutor's office said.

German automobile company Audi's CEO Rupert Stadler has been arrested on suspicion of fraud.

Stadler's arrest is the most high-profile yet in the diesel gate crisis, which started when the Volkswagen group admitted in 2015 to equipping some 11 million diesels worldwide with "defeat devices" created to dupe pollution tests.

As part of the investigation, Stadler's home has been raided, while authorities are now investigating 19 other suspects, the identities of whom have not been disclosed.

Prosecutors from Munich carried out searches in the homes of current and former Audi employees on Wednesday as part of an investigation into diesel emission control software cheating by the.

Martin Winterkorn, the former chief executive officer of Volkswagen, was indicted in May by U.S. prosecutors.

"The arrest warrant is based on concealment of evidence", Munich prosecutors said. The same goes for Munich prosecutors and Stadler.

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Stadler, 55, who joined Audi in 1990 and has been its CEO since 2007, has enjoyed the full backing of VW's top brass so far.

Stadler was accused of fraud and false advertising by German prosecuters last week.

It is understood the VW group's supervisory board will meet later in the day to discuss the development.

The probe of Stadler focuses on cars sold in Europe that were believed to be equipped with software which turned emissions controls off during regular driving.

It later admitted so-called defeat devices were fitted to more than 11 million cars worldwide, including 1.2 million in the UK. The company has earmarked more than 27 billion euros ($31 billion) in fines, buybacks and costs.

But investigations are continuing elsewhere.

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