- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 25, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — A bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that General Motors Corp. can have access to its full $33.3 billion in bankruptcy financing.

Judge Robert Gerber gave final approval to the financing after he had given preliminary approval earlier this month for GM to use $15 billion of the total.

The billions in U.S. and Canadian government financing is intended to keep the Detroit-based automaker going until it can sell its assets to a new company and emerge from Chapter 11. The U.S. government will take a 60 percent ownership stake in the new company, and the Canadian government would get 12.5 percent. The United Auto Workers union and GM’s unsecured bondholders would own the rest.

At a hearing Thursday, Gerber also denied a request from an unofficial committee of people with asbestos-related claims against GM to appoint a “tort czar” that would oversee all future claims against the old GM, not just those related to asbestos.

The asbestos group had previously filed a motion requesting formal committee status, but told the court Thursday that it was no longer pursuing that. The group has one representative on the case’s unsecured creditors committee.

Later in Thursday’s hearing, a group of retired GM workers concerned about losing their benefits was expected to ask that they be granted their own committee, which would entitle them to have their legal fees paid by the automaker’s estate.

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