By on November 6, 2017

marchionne, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

Apparently, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne had an extended chat with authorities at the U.S. Attorney’s Office in downtown Detroit one year before the $4.5 million corruption scandal involving the automaker’s training center was made public.

Marchionne and his lawyer participated in a private meeting in July 2016, discussing the alleged corruption between FCA executives and high-ranking members of the UAW with investigators. One year later, former Fiat Chrysler Vice President Alphons Iacobelli was indicted and accused of funneling kickbacks to UAW officials.

According to The Detroit News, there was some speculation of Marchionne’s involvement in the actual crime. But sources familiar with the event claimed he was not subpoenaed and appeared to arrive voluntarily. He has also not be charged with any wrongdoing, so we’re not raising any eyebrows or pointing fingers. For all we know, Sergio could have helped finger the culprit from the beginning.

“If a subordinate is charged with a crime … you ought to be concerned,” explained Peter Henning, a Wayne State University law professor and ex-federal prosecutor. “This doesn’t mean [Marchionne’s] done anything wrong. This is a process that is fraught with great risk so you want good counsel to guide you through it and see if you have any criminal exposure.”

As things stand, it appears as though only a handful of auto executives and UAW officials were involved. However, a federal investigation has turned its attention to both General Motors’ and Ford’s possible involvement in a similar misappropriation of training funds. Still, there’s no supporting evidence we’re aware of and all three automakers have said they’re happy to cooperate with the FBI during its investigation.

“Fiat Chrysler has to appear cooperative,” Henning continued. “No one wants to start yelling ‘Fifth Amendment.’ That sends a signal to the government that there’s at least smoke, and maybe fire.”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles]

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2 Comments on “Sergio Talked to the Feds About UAW Corruption Investigation...”

  • avatar

    I’d have to think Big Serge (or his consigliere) would be sure to have plausible deniability on a deal like this. There’s probably some US-based labor relations domo that may be in for some heat though.

    I was never high enough in the ranks at GM to see anything like the FCA fraud, but there were plenty of stealth payoffs to the local union officials. These guys were “on the clock” for incredible numbers of hours per month, and when combined with shift premiums, weekend premiums, holiday premiums, etc took home some serious dough. Of course “on the clock” often meant hanging out at the “fitness center” or snoozing in the UAW “work center” in the plant.

  • avatar

    Somewhere in Detroit, or maybe New Jersey:
    “Rocco, I gotta job fer yous.”
    “Sure, boss, whaddaya need me ta do?”
    “Old Sergio is squawkin’ like a parrot to the Feds. Da wop needs ta get whacked.”
    “Gotcha, boss, Consider it done.”

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