(NEW YORK TIMES) The Justice Department has begun a criminal investigation into General Motors’ decade-long failure to address deadly safety problems before announcing a huge vehicle recall last month, according to people briefed on the matter.

The preliminary inquiry by federal prosecutors in New York is focused on whether G.M., the nation’s largest automaker, failed to comply with laws requiring timely disclosure of vehicle defects. The prosecutors, one of the people said, are questioning whether G.M. misled federal regulators about the extent of the problems.

The investigation is the latest in a widening series of threats to G.M. over its handling of faulty ignition switches in its Chevrolet Cobalt sedan and other cars that the company says are linked to 31 accidents and 13 deaths.


Note: Read our discussion guidelines before commenting.