GM CEO Mary Barra

General Motors is on the hook for a $900 million settlement tied to faulty ignition switches that caused the deaths of 124 people, but the company will face no criminal charges in the matter.

The payout is part of a “deferred prosecution agreement” with the U.S. Department of Justice. It stipulates the automaker must work with an independent monitor for three years to review corporate policies that may have made it easier to cover up a flaw some say GM knew about long before it recalled 2.6 million affected cars. By meeting those terms, the company will avoid charges of wire fraud and scheming to conceal a deadly safety defect from U.S. regulators.

Safety advocates like Ralph Nader called the U.S. federal government toothless, and referred to GM as a “homicidal fugitive from justice”

Though the eventual recall included Canadian vehicles, a Transport Canada representative said the settlement only applies to GM’s U.S. operations, and has no direct bearing on GM Canada.

General Motors fired 15 employees and disciplined others in the wake of an internal investigation, but one of those let go said he was silenced when he tried to bring the ignition switch flaw to light.

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