During an early media brief ahead of the automaker’s annual shareholder meeting, GM CEO Mary Barra discussed certain aspects of the company’s business, including the recent rumors that charges would be brought against the automaker by the US Justice Department.
On Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported the Justice Department was prepared to reign down on GM, the largest US automaker and the third biggest in the world, for wire fraud charges related to the recall of faulty ignition switches. Last year the carmaker announced it was recalling 2.6 million older autos equipped with defective ignition switches, which could be easily turned off, thus shutting down the engine and losing power to essential safety systems, including the airbags. So far, the ignition switch fund has already agreed to compensate the families of 111 fatality victims, while hundreds others were injured. The scandal ensuing form the fact that the company acknowledged it had known for at least a decade about the issue led to a criminal investigation from the Us Justice Department.
Barra claims the company has so far “cooperated fully” with the Us Justice Department probe and refrained from commenting in detail about the WSJ report on the possible wire fraud charges. The executive did add that if a settlement would be reached, it would be on the Justice Department’s timeline. The automaker is also entrenched in a legal battle with numerous claimants that have asked for compensation, other than for injuries or death, with plaintiffs lawyers ready to call on the stand numerous former and actual executives in a bid to prove the company actually conspired to hide the defect.