Berlin, Jun 27 (EFE).- Former Audi chief Rupert Stadler was handed a one-year and nine months suspended sentence and a 1.1 million euro fine on Tuesday by a German court for fraud linked to the 2015 diesel scandal.
Stadler, also a former member of the Volkswagen group board, Audi’s parent group, was found guilty of fraud by negligence after allowing cars that had used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests to enter the market.
The ruling by the Munich regional court makes the former Audi boss the first VW former board member and highest-ranking executive to be convicted over the diesel emissions case.
Stadler pleaded guilty in May after his lawyers, the judge and prosecutors struck a deal whereby he was handed the suspended prison sentence and large fine.
The 60-year-old former chief had long declared his innocence and it was only when the court warned he could face time in prison that he admitted his failure to stop the sale of rigged cars with software in European markets even after the scandal first surfaced in the United States in 2015.
Engineer Wolfgang Hatz, also on trial with Stadler and head of engine development at Audi at the time cars were being rigged, was handed a two years suspended sentence and a 400,000 euro fine.
During the trial, he confessed to having organized, together with two other engineers, the installation of software to manipulate the emissions data during the workshop tests.
The trial, which began in September 2020, is the first criminal proceeding of the Volkswagen emissions case.
The scandal has cost the automobile manufacturer over $30 billion in fines and settlements. EFE