German authorities on Monday detained the chief executive of Volkswagen's Audi division, Rupert Stadler, as part of the investigation into the manipulation of emissions controls. The move is an extension of the emissions scandal that has rocked Volkswagen since 2015 and led to billions in fines, the arrest of executives, and the US indictment of its former CEO. Stadler's detention follows a search last week of his private residence, reports the AP, ordered by Munich prosecutors investigating him on suspicion of fraud and indirect improprieties with documents. "Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was provisionally arrested this morning," the company said in a statement. It said shortly afterward that a judge had ordered him kept in custody pending possible charges.
The company said that it couldn't comment further due to the ongoing investigation, but it stressed that "the presumption of innocence remains in place for Mr. Stadler." German news agency dpa reported that prosecutors decided to seek Stadler's arrest due to fears he might try to evade justice. A former head of Audi's engine development unit is already in investigative detention. A total of 20 people are under suspicion in the Audi probe, which focuses on cars sold in Europe that were believed to be equipped with software that turned emissions controls on during lab testing and off again during regular driving to enhance performance. Audi said in a statement last week that it was "cooperating with the authorities." German authorities this month fined Volkswagen $1.2 billion as part of their own investigation. They're also investigating former CEO Martin Winterkorn and 48 others.
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