DETROIT — If Sergio Marchionne was the puppeteer in Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' alleged racketeering scheme, Alphons Iacobelli was one of his lead puppets. General Motors also says Iacobelli was key to unraveling what happened.
GM named Iacobelli, FCA's labor relations chief until 2015, as a defendant in its federal lawsuit, along with FCA and two other former executives.
Unmentioned in the complaint, however, is that GM hired Iacobelli as executive director of labor relations in January 2016 — after he allegedly spent years conspiring with Marchionne to damage GM. GM fired Iacobelli in 2017, after the Justice Department charged him with violating the National Labor Relations Act and tax laws.
During his tenure at GM, Iacobelli worked on labor negotiations with Unifor in Canada.
A GM spokesman told Automotive News the company had no knowledge of any wrongdoing by Iacobelli or FCA when he was hired.
Iacobelli's name came up more than 60 times in the 95-page lawsuit, which frequently cites evidence from his 2018 plea agreement.
The deal with prosecutors included a 66-month prison sentence for Iacobelli, who admitted to embezzling more than $1 million that he used to buy a $350,000 Ferrari, a swimming pool, a pair of $37,500 Montblanc pens and other luxuries. A judge also ordered him to pay $835,523 in restitution and a $10,000 fine.
Iacobelli was vice president of employee relations at FCA and Chrysler and co-chairman of the automaker's national training center and its joint activities board from 2008 to 2015. Funds from the training center were used to pay off a number of UAW officials, according to prosecutors and guilty pleas by some of those who participated in the scheme.
He played a critical role in negotiating and implementing FCA's labor agreements with the UAW.