GM to pay $900 million, settle U.S. criminal case over ignition switches: sources
By David Ingram, Nate Raymond and Joseph White
NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors Co (GM.N: Quote) has agreed to pay $900 million and sign a deferred-prosecution agreement to end a U.S. government investigation into its handling of an ignition-switch defect linked to 124 deaths, two sources told Reuters.
The deal means GM will be charged criminally with hiding the defect from regulators and in the process defrauding consumers, but the case will be put on hold while GM fulfills terms of the deal, one source said.
No individuals would be charged in the criminal case, one of the sources said.
The company's expected $900 million payment, confirmed by a second source, is less than the $1.2 billion that Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T: Quote) paid to resolve a similar case.
GM declined to comment. Spokeswomen for U.S. prosecutors in New York and in Washington also declined to comment.
The terms of GM's deal with the government were not immediately known, including how many counts the automaker would be charged with, whether the automaker agreed to hire an independent monitor, or how long it would need to abide by the agreement before the case may be dropped.
The agreement was expected to be announced on Thursday, the sources said. Any deferred-prosecution agreement would require court approval.
"I am very hopeful the Department of Justice will hold GM fully accountable and presses for an acknowledgement of responsibility as well as monetary penalties," Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut said in a telephone interview with Reuters. Continued...