The Henry Ford II World Center, the headquarters of the Ford Motor Company in Dearborn, Michigan.
James Leynse | Corbis | Getty Images
DETROIT – Ford Motor continues to be investigated by the federal government as part of a multi-year corruption investigation by the United Auto Workers union, according to the chief prosecutor of the investigation.
U.S. attorney Matthew Schneider told CNBC that the UAW automaker and Ford unit remain targets in the probe that originally began with Fiat Chrysler and its union colleague.
"Ford and Fiat Chrysler, this investigation is still ongoing," he said on Thursday during a telephone interview. "You have to see everything." When asked if the companies or their union departments would continue to be investigated, he said his team would "certainly not limit it to one thing or the other".
Ford said in a statement: "As always, we would work together on all inquiries." Fiat Chrysler confirmed an earlier statement that it firmly believes "it was a victim of the illegal behavior of certain villains".
Schneider reiterated that General Motors is not a target of the ongoing investigation, which was published in July 2017. At the company's request earlier this year, federal prosecutors confirmed that GM was not a target of the investigation at the time. According to Schneider, companies and individuals can file this application with the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Schneider's comments come hours after prosecutors charged former UAW President Dennis Williams with embezzlement as part of the investigation. Williams, 67, and at least six other senior UAW officials have allegedly conspired to hide hundreds of thousands of dollars in lavish entertainment and personal expenses such as golf trips and high-end dinners at the expense of UAW conferences.
The late Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne (R) and United Auto Workers union president Dennis Williams shake hands during a press conference in Detroit on September 15, 2015.
Rebecca Cook | Reuters
Williams is the 15th person to be charged. All previous defendants, including three Fiat Chrysler executives and Williams' successor Gary Jones, have pleaded guilty.
Schneider said the investigation could be completed by the end of the year and called it a "big goal".
"I don't know if it's possible, but I think we should shoot for that," said Schneider, whose term of office could end with the election of a new president.
Overall, according to Schneider, the case has exposed millions of dollars in misused funds that should benefit UAW members. "It's a shame. It really is," he said.
When the federal investigation was published three years ago, it focused on a jointly operated training center between the UAW and Fiat Chrysler. But it was quickly expanded to perform similar operations with GM and Ford.
The investigation has been expanded to include the leading union leaders who are embezzling union funds, money laundering and other illegal activities, which has sparked discussions between Schneider's office and UAW leaders about possible reforms.
In June, Gamble met with Schneider about union reform, possibly using an independent monitor. Schneider said it would stay on the table. He declined to comment on specific details of the talks, describing them as "very well progressing" and "very productive".
"These are great people who are committing federal crimes and we need to make sure that this union is fully reformed to serve the men and women who work there," Schneider said.
A UAW spokesman declined to comment, citing that the union had agreed not to speak about the discussions.