MUNICH -- Wolfgang Hatz, Volkswagen Group's former top engineer, will be released from custody on bail of 3 million euros ($3.5 million), a spokesman for the Munich public prosecutors' office said.
Hatz will be freed on condition that he must not leave Germany and must not make contact with co-accused or witnesses in the emissions affair, Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported.
Hatz, a former research and development chief at Porsche and former head of powertrain development at Audi and parent VW, had been taken into custody in September 2017 after prosecutors claimed he was obstructing their investigation, a charge Hatz denied.
He initially declined to talk to investigators, and when he later did, prosecutors didn't feel they got enough information. Challenges against his detention were rejected by several judges until Tuesday, when the Munich appeals court changed its assessment and allowed him out.
The evidence against Hatz is still strong, the Munich Appeals Court said in an emailed statement. He's also still a flight risk and there's still the risk he may tamper with evidence, so he had to post bail and was ordered not the leave the country or contact other people relevant to the probe, the judges said.
Peter Gauweiler, a lawyer for Hatz, said Tuesday's decision was long overdue.
In recent weeks, Hatz underwent surgery in a hospital while under guard, and is currently in a rehabilitation clinic. His health situation may have helped change the judges' view on his detention.
Bloomberg contributed to this report