Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Federal prosecutors mull criminal fraud charges against GM over ignition switches.

The Wall Street Journal (6/10, Matthews, Spector, Subscription Publication, 5.68M) reports that the Justice Department is considering charging General Motors Co. with criminal wire fraud linked to the company’s failure to recall millions of vehicles with defective ignition switches. Citing unnamed sources, the Journal reports that Federal prosecutors in New York are leading the investigation after determining that GM probably made misleading statements and concealed information about the faulty switches, which have been linked to more than 100 deaths.
        The Detroit Free Press (6/9, Gardner, 957K) reports that GM CEO Mary Barra said that the company “is cooperating with a federal prosecutor looking at whether it committed wire fraud in its response to defective ignition switches now tied to 111 deaths. ‘We have cooperated fully. We continue to do so,’ Barra said. ‘It is their timeline. Anything else is pure speculation and does no one any good.’” The Free Press notes that Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara and the Justice Department “reached an agreement last year with Toyota under which the Japanese automaker agreed to pay $1.2 billion to resolve wire fraud charges in communicating what the government said was misleading information about the safety of millions of vehicles Toyota recalled in 2010.”

        The AP (6/10, Krisher) reports that Barra “confirmed Tuesday that she has been interviewed by the Justice Department in its criminal probe of how the company handled a deadly ignition switch problem in older small cars.” Barra told reporters “the interview happened last year but said she didn’t know when the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan would release the results of its probe.” 

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