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Report: Chrysler refused loan over pay limits

A report says Chrysler’s finance arm turned down a $750 million loan from the federal government because some top executives refused to accept new limits on executive pay.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Chrysler LLC’s financial arm turned down additional government aid after some top executives refused to accept new limits on executive pay, according to a government official with knowledge of the negotiations.

The official said Monday that the Treasury Department denied Chrysler Financial’s request for more aid because some of its top 25 executives would not waive their rights to legal claims against the government and Chrysler Financial regarding new caps on executive compensation. The official did not want to be identified because the decision has not been made public.

The Washington Post reported on its Web site Monday that Chrysler Financial turned down $750 million in aid on top of $1.5 billion it already has received.

Chrysler Financial denied the allegation. It issued a statement saying it has enough private capital to meet its short-term needs of lending money to dealers and customers, and it doesn’t need more money now from the government’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP.

Chrysler Financial received a $1.5 billion loan from the bank bailout program in January and said it would use the money to provide low-rate financing to more car buyers.

The government also restricted executive pay for federal bailout recipients at that time, but the restrictions have gotten tougher since then.

“Executives have not been presented with any new demands with regard to executive compensation. As a TARP recipient, the company remains in full compliance with current executive compensation requirements,” Chrysler Financial’s statement said.

The federal loan Chrysler Financial received is separate from the $4 billion the government has lent to Chrysler LLC to aid the Auburn Hills, Mich., automaker’s struggling manufacturing operations. Chrysler LLC faces an April 30 deadline to restructure and ink an alliance deal with Italy’s Fiat Group SpA or it won’t get any more government loans.

A spokeswoman for the Treasury Department’s auto task force, which is handling the Chrysler and GM restructuring plans, said it was monitoring the financing situations for both Chrysler and GM as part of talks over the future of the two automakers.

Chrysler Financial probably didn’t need the government money to fuel dealer and customer financing because the automaker is selling fewer cars and trucks. U.S. sales of its Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep brands were down 46 percent in the first quarter compared with the same period last year.