FRANKFURT: The former head of Volkswagen’s Audi luxury car division and three others went on trial Wednesday on charges related to the company’s cheating on diesel car emissions tests.
The proceedings represent the first criminal trial in Germany over the scandal that erupted five years ago and has cost the Volkswagen Group more than 32 billion euros (USD 35 billion) in fines and settlements.
Rupert Stadler and the three co-defendants are charged with fraud, false certification and criminal false advertising before a court in Munich in a trial that is scheduled to include 176 sessions lasting until December 20, 2022.
The dpa news agency reported Stadler made no statement arriving at the courtroom where the trial was to take place under anti-coronavirus measures, including attendance limits and social distancing.
The trial is a consequence of Volkswagen’s emission scandal that erupted in September 2015.
The US Environmental Protection Agency issued a notice of violation saying that Volkswagen had rigged thousands of cars to detect when the cars were on emissions test stands.
The software turned emissions controls up so that the cars could pass the test, then turned them off when the cars were driven on the street.