Ex-Honda executive accused of lying in kickback case He )) denied firm punished dealers who wouldn't pay; Automobiles HTC


A former Honda Motor Co. official was indicted in Baltimore yesterday for allegedly making false statements to a federal judge during the course of litigation against the company, which being sued in a bribery scandal.

Gregory T. Savoy, 30, of Cherry Hill, N.J., is charged with perjury and obstruction of justice in connection with a July 1997 affidavit submitted to Chief Judge J. Frederick Motz in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, federal prosecutors said.

Motz had received the affidavit as part of pending civil claims by dealers that Honda conspired to send shipments of cars to those willing to pay bribes while punishing dealers who refused to take part in a kickback scheme.

Numerous Honda executives were convicted in a New Hampshire criminal case in 1995.

In the affidavit, Savoy, a district sales manager, swore that no one had ever instructed him to discriminate against Honda dealerships who were suing the company. Savoy knew the statement to be untrue when he made it, according to an indictment filed in federal court in Baltimore.

Savoy also falsely told the judge that he was "aware of no policy, rule, statement, or suggestion that dealers who are suing Honda should be treated differently in any respect than any other dealer," the indictment alleges.

Honda withdrew Savoy's affidavit when it became apparent that his declaration might be false, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Dale P. Kelberman.

Motz paved the way for a class action lawsuit last fall when he ruled that individual Honda dealers could band together to sue ++ the automaker. As many as 800 dealers will be asking a jury to decide whether the automaker, its executives and its lawyers took part in a nationwide racketeering scheme and are liable for the kickbacks.

Savoy worked in Honda's Moores-town, N.J., office. Perjury and obstruction of justice are felonies that carry penalties of up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Pub Date: 5/20/98

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