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Audi CEO Could Be in the Clear after Emissions Probe Grilling

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Despite witnesses claiming Audi CEO Rupert Stadler was involved in the Volkswagen emissions scandal, the law firm investigating the company has reportedly found no evidence to support the claim.

According to company sources, U.S. law firm Jones Day found nothing that suggests the company chairman had any prior knowledge of the brand’s rigged diesel engines, Reuters reports.

Jones Day questioned Stadler earlier this week after shifting its investigation to what executives knew of the emissions-cheating engines, and when. A source close to Volkswagen’s supervisory board told Reuters, “Nothing burdensome against Stadler was found” — a claim backed up by two other sources close to the automaker.

This comes after an earlier report in Germany’s Der Spiegel claimed Stadler knew of the defeat devices as early as 2010. The executive has run the company since 2007.

Audi’s 3.0-liter V6 diesel engines contain the same emissions-cheating software found in Volkswagen Group’s 2.0-liter diesels. A total of 85,000 3.0-liter vehicles, most of them Audis, await a fix or a potential buyback in the U.S.

The investigation into the company’s executives continue. Last week, German media reported the suspension of Audi technical development boss Stefan Knirsch. According to Bild am Sonntag, Audi relieved Knirsch of his duties after investigators received information about his prior knowledge of the defeat devices. Allegedly, he provided a false affidavit to investigators.

Knirsch spent nine months in the position, replacing former tech boss Ulrich Hackenberg last December.

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