GM Files State Lawsuits Against FCA Over Racketeering Claims

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
gm files state lawsuits against fca over racketeering claims

General Motors refuses to let the dismissal of its federal racketeering case against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles stand in the way of getting what it believes is true justice. On Monday, the automaker filed its latest claim with Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan. These are separate from the New Jersey lawsuit it has targeting former board member and ex-UAW vice president Joe Ashton, who GM has accused of being a hired mole. However, Ashton was named in the trio of new court filings, along with Alphons Iacobelli — the man who pled guilty to embezzling union funds and kicked off a gigantic federal corruption investigation into the UAW.

The automaker also named some of the banks it claimed were involved in the union scandal and continues to allege that FCA “provided millions of dollars to co-conspirators via numerous undisclosed offshore bank accounts and utilized such accounts to purchase the support and silence of numerous high-level UAW officers and FCA executives.” Fiat Chrysler’s assumed goal? Forcing General Motors into a merger or destroy it if the merger failed by negotiating favorable terms with the union and encouraging leadership into adopting positions that would harm GM.

GM maintains that FCA, Ashton, Iacobelli are all guilty of corporate espionage. However, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman dismissed its initial case in July after saying the evidence was too speculative and that the courtroom proceeded were ultimately a waste of everybody’s time. While the General tried to reinvigorate things by saying it had new evidence relating to the offshore accounts, Judge Borman asked why it wasn’t presented beforehand and brushed it off as vague and unhelpful. While the manufacturer is attempting to appeal its federal case, Automotive News has claimed the new filings actually identify some of the associated banks by name.

From AN:

“General Motors is pursuing claims over which the federal District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan declined to exercise jurisdiction and related claims — mainly involving breaches of fiduciary duties that individuals owed to GM while they were employees or directors of the company,” GM said in a statement. “The federal court made no determinations on the merits of these claims. We look forward to presenting these cases in court.”

FCA, in a statement, called GM’s new lawsuit a “a rehash of the preposterous conspiracy theories” listed in its federal case.

“We will continue to aggressively defend ourselves and will take appropriate steps — including seeking sanctions — against GM’s baseless attempts to tarnish FCA’s reputation, none of which will distract us from our fundamental mission of providing customers with outstanding and exciting cars, trucks and SUVs or from completing our landmark combination with Groupe PSA,” FCA’s statement said.

“GM recently discovered that before and during his tenure as a director, Ashton sat at the center of two sprawling and long-running criminal schemes. Each scheme was intended to and did cause massive harm to GM. Despite his fiduciary duties, Ashton failed to disclose and in fact, affirmatively concealed these schemes from detection while serving as a director on GM’s board. GM discovered these schemes only recently, following dozens of indictments and guilty pleas involving Ashton and his co-conspirators,” GM wrote in its suit against Ashton.

Some of the implicated financial institutions include Shinsei Bank in Japan and the Cayman National Bank in the Cayman Islands. While those have been tied to Mr. Ashton and seeks to draw in numerous high-ranking FCA officials (including FCA’s late CEO Sergio Marchionne) as part of a plot to force GM into a merger, Iacobelli was alleged to have untoward banking ties of his own — most notably Deutsche Bank in Italy, UBS in Switzerland, and VP Bank Vaduz in Liechtenstein. GM also claimed that former UAW President Dennis Williams ( who has also been charged in the federal union corruption investigation) had been using accounts with LGT Bank in Switzerland and Mason Private Bank in Liechtenstein for illicit activities.

[Images: Michael Urmann/Shutterstock]

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  • Sundance Sundance on Sep 18, 2020

    We won't get it in Europe? Oh, I'll get over it. That car is not pretty (not-nice roofline, boring front) and we have enough nice cars over here.

  • Jeff S Jeff S on Sep 18, 2020

    This a futile. More important that GM make affordable, reliable, and desirable vehicles. GM was once a great manufacturer and the World's leading automobile manufacture and now it is ever diminishing headed for the dustbin.

  • Jkross22 Current Mazda interiors match or beat Audi. Chunky buttons, clicky knobs, big displays - pity that Mazda hasn't figured out how to boot the crappy Bose system and offer up something better. No shortage of audio companies that could help with that.
  • Skippity “Things To Watch Out For When Buying a 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7.” A 1979 Mercury Cougar XR-7.
  • Mike Beranek Would you cross this man? No way!
  • Skippity I kinda like styling. There’s plenty of lookalike boxes on the road. Nice to see something unique.
  • Make_light I drive a 2015 A4 and had one of these as a loaner once. It was a huge disappointment (and I would have considered purchasing one as my next car--I'm something of a small crossover apologist). The engine sounded insanely coarse and unrefined (to the point that I wasn't sure if it was poor insulation or there was something wrong with my loaner). The seats, interior materials, and NVH were a huge downgrade compared to my dated A4. I get that they are a completely different class of car, but the contrast struck me. The Q3 just didn't feel like a luxury vehicle at all. Friends of mine drive a Tiguan and I can't think of one way in which the Q3 feels worth the extra cost. My mom's CX-5 is better than either in every conceivable way.