General Motors’ allegations that Fiat Chrysler Automobiles bribed union officials are ‘absurd’ and read like a script for a ‘third-rate spy movie,’ FCA lawyers wrote in court documents filed Monday.
GM, in a court motion last week, alleged Fiat Chrysler used foreign bank accounts to bribe union officials into sticking GM with higher labor costs.
But in response, the Italian-American automaker fired back, calling GM’s claims “defamatory and unfounded.”
GM alleged in a court filing last week that the FCA had spent millions on bribes while hiding money in foreign accounts. The new evidence claims were made in a petition asking a federal judge to reconsider his July dismissal of a federal racketeering lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler.
In trying to restart the lawsuit, 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 should know that the prospect of getting the judge to overturn the dismissal is slim to none. “So this motion is apparently a way to bring more defamatory and baseless charges against a competitor who is winning in the market. ”
FCA has denied GM’s claims that FCA paid two “moles” to infiltrate GM and send inside information. The company also denied that any foreign bank accounts were involved. “That GM has extended its attacks to FCA officers and employees, making far-fetched allegations against them without any factual evidence, is contemptible,” FCA lawyers wrote.
GM’s claims are based on the alleged existence of foreign bank accounts, which are legal, Fiat Chrysler wrote. “There is not a single well-substantiated claim in the proposed amended complaint (by GM) that these foreign bank accounts were used to pay bribes or facilitate any other illegal conduct,” the response said. of the FCA.
GM claims bribes were paid to former United Auto Workers presidents Dennis Williams and Ron Gettelfinger, as well as Vice President Joe Ashton. He also alleges that money was paid to GM employees, including Al Iacobelli, a former FCA labor negotiator who was hired and then released by GM.
GM alleges payments were made for officials to impose more than $ 1 billion in additional labor costs on it.
Gettelfinger, whose name had not been mentioned before in a large federal investigation into UAW corruption, vehemently denied the allegations in a statement and said he had no overseas accounts . Williams’ California home was searched by federal agents, but he was not charged. Iacobelli, who is awaiting conviction in the inquiry, also denied the allegations.
In July, U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in Detroit dismissed GM’s lawsuit alleging Fiat Chrysler paid union leaders to get better contract terms than GM.
He wrote that GM’s alleged injuries were not caused by the FCA’s violation of federal racketeering laws and that those aggrieved by the bribery system were Fiat Chrysler workers.
GM’s motion argued 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 investigation, according to the motion. The accounts were discovered recently by private investigators working on behalf of GM, court records show.