Date
24 March 2017
Chief executive Mary Barra says GM is cooperating fully with federal investigators but insists any talk of impending fraud charges is mere speculation. Photo: Reuters
Chief executive Mary Barra says GM is cooperating fully with federal investigators but insists any talk of impending fraud charges is mere speculation. Photo: Reuters

US building fraud case against GM over faulty ignition switch

General Motors could face a criminal investigation over its failure to recall millions of vehicles with a defective ignition switch.

Federal prosecutors in New York are looking into potential charges after concluding the United States car giant made misleading statements to conceal information about the faulty switch, the Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday.

The defect has been linked to more than 100 deaths.

Investigators  are hoping to reach a settlement with the company by the end of summer or early fall, although the timing could slip, the report said.

Prosecutors also could explore other kinds of possible criminal wrongdoing, although they have yet to decide what charges to bring, if any.

GM chief executive Mary Barra said she met with Justice Department investigators last year but declined to comment on the ongoing investigation.

“We have cooperated fully,” she said of the Justice Department probe.

“It is their timeline and we are going to continue to cooperate to the fullest extent that we can. Anything else is pure speculation and does no one any good.”

In the GM probe, Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara is building on an unprecedented settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. in March last year.

Prosecutors charged Toyota with wire fraud under a unique legal theory that effectively punished the Japanese company not for producing defective products but for defrauding their customers by making misleading statements about product safety.

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RA

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