GM disclosed the probes in a regulatory filing after reporting
earlier in the day that first-quarter profit tumbled 88 percent due
to the recall.
The five government investigations are from the U.S. Attorney's
Office for the Southern District of New York, the SEC, the National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a state attorney
general, and Congress.
GM did not specify which state attorney general is involved.
However, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General's office in Florida
told Reuters on Thursday that it is participating in a "multi-state
group" that is investigating complaints about General Motors.
The company also said Thursday it is aware of 55 class action
lawsuits pending in U.S. courts, as well as five in Canada.
The onslaught of investigations and lawsuits against GM started in
February, when the company launched a massive recall of vehicles
with potentially defective ignition switches that have been linked
to at least 13 deaths.
Confidential documents released earlier this month by a
congressional committee showed that GM engineers were well aware of
the serious problems with the ignition switches, but rejected
several opportunities to fix them sooner.
The ongoing probes by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, NHTSA
and Congress were already widely known.
However, Thursday was the first time the company acknowledged that
the SEC and a state attorney general were also investigating the
In its regulatory filing, GM said it was cooperating with all the
investigations, and that the company could face "damages, fines, or
civil and criminal penalties."
"We are currently unable to estimate a range of reasonably possible
loss for the lawsuits and investigations because these matters
involve significant uncertainties at these early stages," the
company said in the filing.
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"Although we cannot estimate a reasonable range of loss based on
currently available information, the resolution of these matters
could have a material adverse effect on our financial position,
results of operations or cash flows."
A GM spokesman declined to comment beyond the regulatory filing.
Federal prosecutors are focusing on whether GM is criminally liable
for failing to properly disclose the problems with the ignition
switches, which first came to light about 10 years ago.
The NHTSA's probe similarly is examining whether or not the company
reacted swiftly enough to recall the cars.
GM did not say what the SEC is specifically looking at.
However, some of the shareholder lawsuits against the company
address matters that would likely be of interest to federal
Some of the lawsuits accuse GM of making material misstatements and
omissions in their financial statements related to the ignition
One lawsuit, for instance, points to prior regulatory filings in
which the company promised to follow federal safety regulations that
require car makers to "notify owners and provide a remedy" if a
serious defect is discovered.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch; additional reporting by Paul Lienert
and Eric Beech; editing by Sandra Maler and Andrew Hay)
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