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Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler accepted his role in committing fraud by negligence in the diesel emissions scandal, according to a statement made in German court on Tuesday, having agreed early in May to a deal which would get him a suspended sentence.

The former CEO has been on trial for fraud since 2020 over his role in the scandal after parent group Volkswagen and Audi admitted in 2015 to having used illegal software to cheat on emissions tests. Stadler had previously rejected the allegations.

Stadler’s defence lawyer Ulrike Thole-Grolle read a statement to the court, saying the defendant did not know that vehicles had been manipulated and buyers had been harmed, but he recognised it was a possibility and accepted that.

“I understand that for my part, there was a need for more care,” said the lawyer on Stadler’s behalf.

Asked by the judge whether the words were his own, Stadler replied: “Yes”.

The statement had been widely expected after the judge said earlier this month that Stadler would face a suspended prison sentence of 1.5-2 years and a fine of 1.1 million euros if he were to confess to a charge of fraud by negligence. The verdict is expected in June.

The trial is one of the most prominent court proceedings in the aftermath of the diesel scandal at Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi. Revelations that millions of emissions tests had been manipulated emerged in September 2015.

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