German prosecutors filed fraud charges against three former Board members and a retired senior employee of car manufacturer Audi for participating in manipulating engines to make them spew less harmful pollutants, OCCRP reports.
The four accused were charged with “fraud, indirect false information and criminal advertising,” the Munich Prosecutor’s office said in a statement , without naming the accused.
A senior retired employee, a former Department head, is accused of initiating the development of software that was embedded in engines and allowed the car to cheat during emissions tests. Three others are accused of knowingly selling such cars between 2013 and 2015.
“The indictment includes a total of 434,420 vehicles of the Audi, Volkswagen and Porsche brands” whose engines were produced by Audi, the statement said, and “which were sold, in particular, in the US and European markets.”
The “Dieselgate” scandal rocked Audi’s parent company, Volkswagen, when U.S. authorities discovered in 2015 that many of their diesel models, some of which are advertised as “green” cars, emit far more harmful microparticles than the company reported.
By meeting laboratory emissions standards, vehicle engines can emit emissions up to 40 times what is legal in the US when they are on the road.
The Volkswagen and Audi CEOs have been charged separately in the case and are currently awaiting trial.
In 2017, Volkswagen agreed to a $ 34.3 billion settlement with the US Department of justice over manipulated cars it sold to customers in the United States.
Earlier, antikorr. media reported that Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was detained in Munich after his apartment was searched last week. The top Manager of the company is accused of involvement in Dieselgate scandal with diesel engine exhaust.