GM faces record fine over ‘criminal’ ignition defects

US Department of Justice investigators have identified criminal wrongdoing in General Motors’ failure to announce technical faults in an ignition switch, which is tied to scores of deaths.

The defective ignition switch issue has been linked to 104 deaths and 157 serious injuries, the New York Times reported on Friday.

The investigators are negotiating with the automaker what is expected to be a record penalty, said the report, which cited people who were briefed on the inquiry.

According to the report, a settlement between the department and GM could be reached in coming weeks.

A number of former GM employees are also reportedly under investigation and may face criminal charges regarding the issue.

Federal prosecutors launched an enquiry into the matter last year to determine whether the automaker purposely tried to hide the scale of the problem.

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