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Audi CEO named as suspect in German emissions probe

Reuters  |  FRANKFURT 

(Reuters) - German prosecutors on Monday widened an emissions cheating probe into Volkswagen's to include the brand's among the suspects accused of and

Almost three years after admitted to falsifying U.S. diesel emissions tests, the public prosecutor's office said it was now probing 20 suspects, and had on Monday searched the apartment of and one other

The came after Germany's Bild am Sonntag reported up to a million cars had been found to contain illegal emissions devices, showing how the fallout from Volkswagen's scandal continues to dog the industry.

"Since May 30, 2018 the of the board of AG Prof. as well as a further member of the management board are now named suspects," the prosecutor's office said.

The probe could trigger a leadership crisis at and its parent where Stadler was in April elevated to the post of

declined to comment. Audi said it was fully cooperating with prosecutors. Stadler was in a board meeting and unavailable for comment.

prosecutors said the two suspects were being investigated for suspected and and for their alleged role in helping to bring cars equipped with on to the European market.

Stadler has been under fire ever since Audi admitted to using cheating software in November 2015 - two months after Volkswagen - but has enjoyed backing from members of the and Piech families who control

Before becoming Audi in 2007, Stadler was a confidant of, and former to, then-Volkswagen Ferdinand Piech, the scion of the group's controlling Piech clan.

Audi, the biggest contributor to Volkswagen's profit, admitted in November 2015 its 3.0 litre V6 diesel engines were fitted with a device deemed illegal in the that allowed cars to evade emissions limits.

In March, Audi's 20-strong supervisory board recommended that shareholders endorse Stadler as even as prosecutors raided Audi to investigate who was involved in the use of any deployed in 80,000 VW, Audi and cars in the

Audi said last month it had discovered emissions-related problems with a further 60,000 cars.

(Reporting by Arno Schuetze, and Jan Schwartz; Editing by and Mark Potter)

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Mon, June 11 2018. 16:33 IST