GM files state lawsuit against FCA in bid to revive bribery case

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DETROIT — General Motors filed a new lawsuit accusing Fiat Chrysler Automobiles of bribery and conspiracy in state court Monday after the dismissal of its federal racketeering case against the rival automaker.

The automaker, which is still appealing in the federal case, also is now suing two former officials — Joe Ashton and Alphons Iacobelli — who pleaded guilty to embezzling money as part of a wide-ranging corruption investigation into the UAW, according to separate filings issued Monday. Ashton was UAW vice president who later became a GM board member, and Iacobelli was an FCA labor affairs executive who later worked for GM as a spy for FCA, GM claims.

The three filings allege, as GM has since it first sued FCA in November, that FCA, Ashton, Iacobelli and others were guilty of “corporate espionage” that directly harmed the company, using offshore bank accounts to funnel bribe money. U.S. District Judge Paul Borman in July dismissed the federal case with prejudice after calling it “a waste of time and resources for years to come,” and subsequently dismissed GM’s new evidence of offshore accounts as “too speculative.”

GM, in the case filed Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court in Michigan, for the first time named the banks that it alleges were used in the scheme.

“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.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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Saurabh Shukla

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