Audi raided by prosecutors in Germany

15 March 2017

15 March 2017

In ongoing investigations into the emissions scandal, the Munich II public prosecutor’s office is conducting a search of Audi‘s Ingolstadt headquarters as well as its Neckarsulm site. The timing is unfortunate as it coincides with Audi’s annual press conference although this is purely coincidental according to the public prosecutor’s office.

At this stage, the investigation extends to unknown persons who are suspected of fraud and criminal activity but not to individual Audi managers. The police are investigating who was ‘involved in the use of the technology and, where appropriate, in providing false information to third parties.’ The investigations revolve around 80,000 Audi vehicles sold in the US which had six-cylinder diesel engines that were manipulated. So far, the European business is not part of the investigation. The public prosecutor’s office in Brunswick has long been investigating numerous people but these were largely members of the Volkswagen board, with Audi seemingly not under scrutiny until now.

“I can confirm that the prosecutor’s office is present in Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm,” said Audi spokesman JÜrgen De Graeve. Audi’s former head of diesel engine development, Ulrich Weiß, had complained about his dismissal and raised serious accusations against Audi boss Rupert Stadler, saying the latter had known about the manipulation earlier than previously thought. The SÜddeutsche Zeitung also reports that private apartments have been targeted, with nine locations across three federal states searched in total.

Aside from the unfortunate timing, this is undoubtedly a major blow for Audi. Nevertheless, it will probably help to accelerate the brand’s recently announced electric vehicle plans and ensure a change in strategic direction.