May 1, 2020 / 8:09 PM / a month ago

GM not a target in UAW corruption probe: U.S. Attorney's Office

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Co is not a target in the Justice Department’s investigation into corruption within the United Auto Workers union, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: The GM logo is pictured at the General Motors Assembly Plant in Ramos Arizpe, state of Coahuila, Mexico October 7, 2019. REUTERS/Daniel Becerril

GM said earlier Friday that media reports suggesting GM might be a focus of a “newer front in the years long criminal investigation” being conducted by federal prosecutors in Detroit are “not true.”

“A letter was sent to GM’s counsel this week stating that GM is not a target,” a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Federal prosecutors have charged 14 people in the wide-ranging anti-corruption probe, including former UAW President Gary Jones who resigned in November, and a former Fiat Chrysler vice president and a company financial analyst. Of those, 13 have pleaded guilty.

Jones has a June 3 plea hearing set.

Last year, GM sued Fiat Chrysler charging its rival with bribing UAW officials to gain advantages in 2009 and 2015 labor contracts and have the UAW withhold those terms from GM. GM said Fiat Chrysler’s actions put it at a multibillion dollar labor cost disadvantage.

Fiat Chrysler has said GM’s lawsuit is baseless and aimed at disrupting the Italian-American automaker’s proposed merger with France’s Peugeot SA, a charge GM denied.

GM’s accusations relied in part on revelations from an active federal criminal investigation into corruption within the UAW. That probe began at Fiat Chrysler but has since spread to past and present UAW officials at GM.

Matthew Schneider, the U.S. Attorney in Detroit, said in March federal officials would continue to investigate any corruption allegations, and a takeover of the union remained an option.

“We are not done,” Schneider said at a press conference in March. “That’s one of the options ..., whether or not federal government oversight of the UAW is necessary.”

Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Tom Brown and Richard Chang

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