Fiat Chrysler calls GM allegations 'defamatory and baseless'

GM alleges Fiat Chrysler bribed union officials

By Tom Krisher
AP Auto Writer

DETROIT (AP) — Fiat Chrysler Automobiles is denying allegations by General Motors that FCA used foreign bank accounts to bribe union officials so they would stick GM with higher labor costs.

In court papers filed Monday, the Italian-American automaker called GM’s claims “defamatory and baseless.”

GM alleged in a court filing last week that FCA spent millions on bribes by stashing the money in foreign accounts. The allegations of new evidence were made in a motion asking a federal judge to reconsider his July dismissal of a federal lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler.

GM alleged that bribes were paid to two former United Auto Workers presidents, as well as a former union vice president and at least one former GM employee.

In its response, Fiat Chrysler said GM has to know that the prospect of getting the judge to overturn the dismissal is slim to none. “So this motion is apparently a vehicle to make more defamatory and baseless accusations about a competitor that is winning in the marketplace.”

FCA wrote that GM’s motion reads like a script from a “third-rate spy movie, full of preposterous allegations.” GM alleged that FCA paid two “moles” to infiltrate GM and funnel inside information to FCA, the automaker said. GM’s allegation that foreign accounts were used is not true, FCA said. “That GM has extended its attacks to individual FCA officers and employees, making wild allegations against them without a shred of factual support, is despicable,” FCA lawyers wrote.

GM alleged that bribes were paid to former United Auto Workers Presidents Dennis Williams and Ron Gettelfinger, as well as Vice President Joe Ashton. It also alleges money was paid to GM employees including Al Iacobelli, a former FCA labor negotiator who was hired and later released by GM.

GM alleges that payments were made so the officials would saddle GM with more than $1 billion in additional labor costs.

Gettelfinger, whose name had not come up previously in a wide-ranging federal probe of UAW corruption, vehemently denied the allegations in a statement and said he had no foreign accounts. Williams’ California home was raided by federal agents but he has not been charged. Iacobelli, who is awaiting sentencing in the probe, also denied the claims.

In July, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit tossed out GM’s lawsuit that alleged that Fiat Chrysler paid off union leaders to get better contract terms than GM.

He wrote that GM’s alleged injuries were not caused by FCA violating federal racketeering laws, that GM had not stated a claim that can be granted, and that the people harmed by the bribery scheme were Fiat Chrysler workers.

On Monday, Borman issued an order saying that FCA had to file its response by the end of the day and saying that he didn’t want anything else from GM.

GM’s motion contended that payments were made to accounts in places like Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Singapore and the Cayman Islands. The accounts were set up to avoid detection in the federal criminal probe,, according to the motion. The accounts were discovered recently by private investigators working on GM’s behalf, according to court records.



––––––––––––––––––––

Subscribe to the Legal News!

http://legalnews.com/subscriptions

Full access to public notices, articles, columns, archives, statistics, calendar and more

Day Pass Only $4.95!

One-County $80/year

Three-County & Full Pass also available