Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler has confessed to the diesel scandal. Lawyer Marco Rogert, who represents injured drivers, calls it “soft as wax” – because Stadler wants to refute the allegation of intent – for reasons of liability.
Marco Rogert is a business lawyer at the law firm Rogert & Ulbrich in Düsseldorf. He is one of the leading plaintiff lawyers in the VW diesel scandal and has advised or represented around 70,000 injured VW/Audi drivers with his law firm. He was also significantly involved in the comparison between the Federal Association of Consumer Organizations and VW.
Former Audi boss Rupert Stadler has made a confession through his lawyer. What is its value?
That was soft as wax. Mr. Stadler should not get a reduced sentence for this. The confession is supposed to save him from having to go to prison. For me it was very calculated: He doesn’t want to know that vehicles have been manipulated and that buyers have been harmed as a result. But he said he “recognized it as possible and accepted it with approval”. As a lawyer, you know with this choice of words that he wants to refute the allegation of intent.
You doubt that?
Audi-AG is a strictly hierarchically organized company. All strands run to the board of directors. The ISO certification and compliance regulations are usually designed accordingly. I think it is extremely unlikely that Mr. Stadler did not want to know that his engineers installed exhaust gas manipulation technology.
What difference does it make whether intentionally or negligently?
In the event of intentional action, his manager liability insurance should not pay for the damage and fines.
And for injured diesel drivers?
Since the ECJ ruling, it has become easier for damaged diesel buyers to have their damage compensated. In this way, they are compensated for their loss in value, even if the manufacturer only acted negligently. So Mr. Stadler’s half-hearted confession doesn’t matter. However, anyone who wants to return their manipulated vehicle and get a refund of the purchase price only has a claim if the manufacturer can be proven to have acted with intent. Here the starting position remains.
In June, the Munich district court wants to decide on Stadler’s confession – your prognosis?
There’s probably already a deal there, but I don’t know who it is.
This interview first appeared on Capital