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Volkswagen AG US charges Audi engineers over emissionstesting scandal
Volkswagen AG US charges Audi engineers over emissionstesting scandal
  • الإداره
  • 12/02/2019
  • 1938

The US Department of Justice has charged four former Audi engineers for their alleged role in the diesel emissions scandal that has cost parent company Volkswagen more than $30bn in damages so far. Each of the four individuals is thought to live in Germany, which does not extradite its citizens to the US. None of them were available for comment. A spokesman from Audi said: “We continue to co-operate with investigations by the Department of Justice into the conduct of individuals. It would not be appropriate to comment on individual cases.” The charged individuals are Richard Bauder, head of diesel engine development from 2002 to 2012; Axel Eiser, head of engine development from 2009 to 2013; Carsten Nagel, head of engine registration from 2002 to February 2017; and Stefan Knirsch, who oversaw diesel engine development from May 2013 to May 2015. Mr Knirsch was named an Audi board member in January 2016, but he resigned nine months later. The DoJ alleges that each “knowingly, intentionally, and wilfully” conspired to defraud the US. The 30-page indictment sheds light on how lower-level engineers made attempts to stop the cheating on emissions tests but were allegedly over-ruled by superiors bent on conquering the US market. The DoJ describes how Audi, in 2006, designed its cars to recognise when they were being tested for emissions so they could respond with a “dosing strategy” to deliver extra amounts of a urea solution known as AdBlue, which neutralises emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide. Volkswagen AG US charges Audi engineers over emissionstesting scandal Indictment sheds light on how lower-level engineers made attempts to stop the cheating How easy or hard was it to use FT.com today? Leave feedback Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Some unnamed lower level employees understood “that the dosing strategy was illegal” and advised Audi to “kill the function”. Audi’s registration and testing department called the dosing strategy “indefensible” and “a plain Defeat Device”, according to a July 2008 email allegedly written by Mr Nagel. When Mr Knirsch was allegedly informed in detail about how the strategy worked in September 2013, he is said to have responded by asking others “to assess the risks of being caught cheating”. An assessment delivered the following month warned of “severe penalties” and said it would be “simple” for authorities to detect the illegal software. No action was taken. The diesel scandal began to come to light in 2013 when US environmental groups began testing vehicles in real-world conditions and found emissions were up to 40 times the legal limit. The DoJ cited a January 2015 email from Oliver Schmidt, then the head of VW's US compliance team, to Mr Knirsch, saying “our worst fears have come true” and “we urgently need help with arguments.” Mr Schmidt is currently serving a seven year prison sentence. Volkswagen’s former chief executive, Martin Winterkorn, was charged in the US for his alleged role in the scandal last year but remains in Germany. Audi chief executive Rupert Stadler was arrested in Germany last year, forcing him to resign, but after five months he was released without charge