Four Audi officials have been indicted by the U.S. for their roles in a nearly 10-year long conspiracy to defraud American customers and regulators by rigging vehicles with illegal software to pass emissions tests. The charges were handed down Thursday by a federal grand jury in Detroit.
The four are: Richard Bauder, who led Audi’s diesel engine development department from 2002 to 2012; Axel Eiser, who oversaw that department and also headed the Volkswagen AG unit’s engine development division; Stefan Knirsch, who led that division after Eiser; and the carmaker’s former head of engine registration, Carsten Nagel.
They’re accused of conspiring with an already-indicted former Audi executive, Giovanni Pamio, to defraud the U.S., commit wire fraud and violate the Clean Air Act to enrich Volkswagen and themselves. According to the filing, they sought to deceive regulators to obtain emissions certificates required in the U.S. for so-called “clean diesel” models, and then selling those vehicles knowing they were designed to evade the law.