US justice department investigators have identified criminal wrongdoing in General Motors’ failure to disclose a defective ignition switch, and they are negotiating what is expected to be a record penalty.

Citing people briefed on the inquiry, the New York Times reported that a settlement could be reached as soon as this summer.

The final number is still being negotiated but it is expected to exceed the $1.2bn paid last year by Toyota for concealing unintended acceleration problems, according to the newspaper.

The ignition switch issue has been linked to 84 deaths and 157 serious injuries.

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