A former GM executive has pleaded guilty last week in a complicated contracts kickback scheme that netted him US6.5m.

The Detroit News reported that Daniel Bealko, who had been on the run from authorities for more than a year, pleaded guilty in Chicago to federal charges relating to the kickback and fraud plot.

Bealko was GM's former global commodity manager for lightweight metals. The Detroit News said that he used his authority to steer GM bulk aluminium sales on favourable credit terms to a company called Fuci Metals, which then turned around and resold the aluminium for a profit.

Instead of repaying GM, Fuci owner Anthony Brown diverted the money for his own use. GM was left with a debt of about US$83 million.

Bealko, 62, formerly of Clarkston, was said to be living in the Caribbean when he was indicted in March 2008. He was arrested last year in Liechtenstein.

The Detroit News said that Bealko had complained to Brown that GM did not pay him enough in light of the substantial amounts of money he made for the company through his management of aluminum positions, according to his plea agreement.

He also complained that GM's medical insurance did not sufficiently cover the medical costs of a close family member.

The Detroit News report added that the US government is recommending a prison sentence ranging from 70 to 87 months.

Auto market intelligence
from just-auto

• Auto component fitment forecasts
• OEM & tier 1 profiles & factory finder
• Analysis of 30+ auto technologies & more