Three former members of the board of Audi as well as a former senior official were returned to the antechamber of a criminal trial in Germany, accused of " fraud " in the framework of the scandal of rigged diesel engines, announced Thursday the justice . The three directors " having knowledge of the manipulation ensured that the affected cars of the Audi and Volkswagen brands continued to be sold.“, According to the Munich prosecutor's office, one of the courts seized of this sprawling affair in which the former boss of Audi, Rupert Stadler, and the Volkswagen group, Martin Winterkorn, are already awaiting trial. The first hearing for Rupert Stadler, also on trial for fraud alongside three other executives, is scheduled for September 30. He will be the first senior official of the Volkswagen group to respond in Germany to justice for this scandal, which erupted in September 2015 and precipitated the automotive sector, industrial flagship and pride of this country, in a crisis from which it is still struggling to emerge.
Read also: Dieselgate: Volkswagen paid US motorists $ 9.5 billion
Volkswagen then recognized the rigging of 11 million vehicles with software capable of making them appear less polluting during laboratory tests than on the roads. The prosecution did not name the four leaders on Thursday, but, according to the business daily Handelsblatt, they include the former directors of research and a former director of purchasing. Beyond these trials around Audi, at the heart of the case because certain responsibilities on the incriminated engines fell to the brand, the Volkswagen group has already settled a large part of the criminal and civil component in Germany. He agreed to spend at least 750 million euros to compensate 235,000 customers in this country and, after a defeat before the highest civil court which ordered him to partially reimburse the buyers, the manufacturer will offer to pay a certain sum to a much of the remaining 60,000.
Audi has settled a fine of 800 million euros for " breaches " of its " duty of supervision " regarding the approval of diesel cars. In total, the scandal cost the group more than 30 billion euros, including several billion in the United States to compensate customers. The current CEO of the group, Herbert Diess, and the chairman of the supervisory board, Hans Dieter Pötsch, were also brought to justice last September for manipulating the financial markets. But they were able to avoid a lawsuit by, following an agreement, a financial transaction of nine million euros. In civil matters, the last major lawsuit remains that of investors asking for compensation for the plunge in the share price after the revelations.