Bayern Munich board member Rupert Stadler, the chief executive of Volkswagen’s Audi division, has been detained by German authorities as part of a probe into manipulation of emissions controls.
Stadler, 55, was detained on Monday after Munich prosecutors had searched his private residence last week as part of an investigation into suspected fraud and indirect documentation improprieties.
In a statement, Volkswagen, which temporarily removed Stadler from its management board on Tuesday, said a judge had ordered the executive to be held in custody pending possible charges at the prosecutors’ request, but the company would not comment further because of the ongoing investigation even though “the presumption of innocence remains in place for Mr. Stadler.”
The investigation into Stadler is focused on cars sold in Europe and allegedly equipped with software that turned off emissions controls during driving. According to reports, prosecutors decided to detain Stadler over fears he might try to elude justice.
Stadler is a member of Bayern’s supervisory board along with former Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn, who was indicted by a United States federal grand jury last month on charges stemming from the emissions scandal.
Volkswagen has pleaded guilty to criminal charges in the U.S., where two managers are already serving prison terms. Winterkorn, who faces up to 25 years in prison and a €275,000 fine, has been charged with three counts of wire fraud and one of conspiring with other senior company executives and employees to violate the Clean Air Act.
Bayern are yet to comment on the recent developments involving their supervisory board members.
Mark Lovell covers Bayern Munich for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter: @LovellLowdown.