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4 Audi officials indicted in US over alleged role in 'dieselgate'

Four senior officials at German carmaker Audi AG were indicted Jan. 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan over their alleged involvement in the company's emissions test cheating.

Richard Bauder, Axel Eiser, Stefan Knirsch and Carsten Nagel were charged with conspiracy to defraud the U.S., to commit wire fraud and to violate the Clean Air Act.

The charges relate to the "dieselgate" scandal involving Audi-parent Volkswagen AG, which has since admitted to cheating emissions standards by installing defeat devices and paid several billion dollars in fines.

In the latest indictment, a federal grand jury alleged that the four officials, along with their co-conspirators, "knowingly, intentionally and willfully" combined, conspired and confederated to commit fraud.

Bauder, Eiser and Knirsch served as heads of Audi's diesel engine development at two of Audi's German plants between 2002 to 2015, while Nagel was head of engine registration within Audi's registration and testing department in Neckarsulm, Germany, from 2002 to 2017.

The vehicles involved in the scheme that were sold in the U.S. include the 2009-2015 VW Touareg, the 2009-2015 Audi Q7, the 2014-2015 Audi A6 Quattro, the 2014-2015 Audi A7 Quattro, the 2014-2015 Audi A8L and the 2014-2015 Audi Q5, according to the court document.

Audi allegedly installed software to implement the defeat device in the affected vehicles so they could be marketed and sold in the U.S. as "clean diesel" vehicles.

The indictment follows the arrest of former Audi CEO Rupert Stadler in Germany in June 2018 after being identified as a suspect in the Volkswagen group's diesel emissions scandal.