General Motors' war with VW escalates

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THE WAR of words between General Motors and Volkswagen escalated yesterday as the US car giant sought to correct what it 'a massive disinformation campaign' about the Lopez industrial espionage affair.

GM's counter-offensive came after its lawyers requested the arrest of Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, VW's number two, to prevent him from moving to Spain to escape German jurisdiction.

In an exhaustive 34-page document, GMs' European subsidiary, Adam Opel, set out its account of Mr Lopez's controversial move to VW last year, and its detailed suspicions that he and several colleagues collected large amounts of secret company information before leaving.

Opel accused VW of having, over the past fortnight, launched a disinformation campaign to fool public opinion and discredit the official investigation.

On Thursday last week, Volker Hoffmann, a lawyer for Opel, wrote to the Darmstadt prosecutors' office leading the Lopez investigation, calling for the Spaniard's arrest as a precautionary measure. Volkswagen dismissed all speculation about Mr Lopez leaving Germany.

In his letter Mr Hoffmann drew attention to the case of Jorge Alvarez, regarded by Opel as a key suspect in the Lopez affair, who was recently moved from Germany to SEAT. Mr Hoffmann suggested the move was suspicious.