Germany Arrests, US Indicts Fired Audi Dieselgate Engineer – Forbes

Posted: Friday, July 07, 2017

Audi cars are parked at the Audi HQ  (Photo: CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP/Getty Images)

German authorities no longer treat Volkswagen’s dieselgate scandal as a gentlemen’s offense, like they have done so since after the scandal erupted nearly two years ago. Earlier in the week, suspended Audi diesel engine engineer Giovanni Pamio was arrested by Munich’s prosecutors, Germany’s BILD and Spiegel Magazin wrote today. Yesterday, the manager was charged in the U.S. with conspiracy, wire fraud, and making false statements. Pamio is an Italian citizen, and as such could be extradited from Germany.

Spiegel Magazin identified the Audi manager only as Giovanni P. , as it is common in German media when reporting on criminal cases. BILD does not have these qualms, and names him. According to the paper, German prosecutors accuse Pamio of fraud, and false advertising.

Pamio was the head of Thermodynamics within Audi’s Diesel Engine Development Department, until he was, along with a number of other executives and leading engineers, suspended when the dieselgate scandal unfolded. According to the American charging documents,

“PAMIO led a team of engineers responsible for designing emissions control systems to meet emissions standards, including for nitrogen oxides (“NOx”), for diesel vehicles in the United States. PAMIO and his co-conspirators, however, realized they could not calibrate a diesel engine that would meet NOx emissions standards within the design constraints imposed by other departments at the company. In order to nevertheless market and sell vehicles with the Audi diesel engine in the United States, PAMIO and his co-conspirators directed Audi employees to design and implement software functions to cheat the standard U.S. emissions tests, and then deliberately failed to disclose the software functions, and misrepresented, and caused to be misrepresented, to the regulators and U.S. customers, that the vehicles complied with U.S. NOx emissions standards, when they knew the vehicles did not.”

Sought by the law in in America, behind bars in Germany

U.S. District Court

Sought by the law in in America, behind bars in Germany

After throwing the book at mostly minor cogs in the wheels of the dieselgate scandal, investigators on both sides of the Atlantic may for the first time focus on who could be the real perpetrators. However, Pamio’s case did not become public through intrepid police work, or by Volkswagen coming clean. In February, Pamio’s name surfaced when one of Audi’s suspended engineers sued, and the matter landed in a German labor court. In April, the presiding judge “condemned the lack of transparency over Volkswagen’s emissions scandal and said the dearth of information was obstructing the settlement” of the case, Reuters wrote. The matter is still pending.

After Weiss implicated Pamio in court, Audi fired four engineers that held leading positions in its diesel technology divisions, Handelsblatt wrote. One of them was Weiss. The other was Giovanni Pamio.

German journalists who talked to Pamio before his arrest told me that there is – understandably – little love lost between Pamio and his former boss, Audi CEO Rupert Stadler. The CEO should be worried about what Pamio will tell prosecutors in his defense.

When the Weiss matter went to court in February, his lawyer presented documents, describing that “when Stadler took the CEO post in Ingolstadt, the engineers were faced with a dilemma,” Spiegel Magazin wrote at the time. With the help of urea, also called AdBlue, they were able to bring Nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions of their cars to allowable levels. The job required a lot of urea, along with large, and hard to fit tanks. Even harder to explain to customers was that the tanks would have to be refilled often.


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