GM opens new front against Lopez

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The Independent Online
FRANKFURT - General Motors yesterday opened a second front in its battle with Jose Ignacio Lopez de Arriortua, Volkswagen's production chief, over suspected industrial espionage, writes John Eisenhammer.

The Hamburg state prosecutor's office received a letter from the lawyers of GM's European subsidiary, Opel, requesting it to investigate the contradictions between sworn statements by Mr Lopez and other VW executives and those made by GM witnesses during a recent court hearing. For the first time, GM is seeking formally to widen the affair to include Ferdinand Piech, Volkswagen's chairman.

By pursuing Mr Lopez and others on suspected perjury, which could carry a prison sentence of up to three years, GM hopes to speed up developments. It believes that a judgment on the contradictory statements could be had much quicker than one on the criminal investigation into document theft being carried out by the Darmstadt state prosecutor.

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