The deep fall of Rupert Stadler

For years, the former Audi boss only went up. Then came the diesel scandal and custody. And now Stadler sits in court twice a week.

He was arrested a good two years ago: the former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler

Dhe jet set life has been over for Rupert Stadler for years. In the past, when Stadler was still CEO of Audi, he traveled all over the world, visiting the auto shows in Los Angeles, Tokyo and Paris. But since the beginning of this month, the 57-year-old manager has been following a completely different routine. Twice a week he drives his lawyer Thilo Pfordte’s Mercedes limousine to the court at the Stadelheim correctional facility. There he sits as the most prominent of four defendants in the Audi criminal case every Tuesday and Wednesday in a courtroom in the basement, and that, according to the mammoth case, will be for the next two years.

Stadler’s lawyers wanted to split the Diesel process and wanted to suspend the main hearing against their mandate. Only the proceedings against the three other accused should be continued, because it is to them that most of the charges relating to the manipulated diesel engines relate. In fact, Stadler is “only” accused of failing to prevent the manipulated cars from being resold from autumn 2015 onwards. The presiding judge Stefan Weickert also made it clear early on that, according to the preliminary assessment of the court, Stadler had not actively participated in the manipulation. Weickert spoke of offenses by omission. However, he denied the defense’s request on Tuesday. It was “appropriate” to continue the process together, he said. This would not unduly restrict Stadler’s rights.