WASHINGTON, Jan 22 (Reuters) - A Democratic senator on Thursday urged President Barack Obama to require Chrysler [CBS.UL] to repay the federal bailout money it received if Italy’s Fiat SpA FIA.MI should take a controlling stake in it.
Sen. Robert Menendez of New Jersey, a member of the Senate Banking Committee, said in a letter to Obama that American taxpayers should not prop up a foreign automaker.
The Treasury Department agreed to provide a $4 billion loan to Chrysler LLC and another $1.5 billion loan to Chrysler Financial.
Fiat said on Tuesday that it was planning to take a 35 percent stake in Chrysler in exchange for access to technology and overseas markets.
“As a potential partnership between Chrysler and Fiat moves forward, I am asking you to address the potentiality of foreign control and require the immediate payback of the loans already dispersed should such a scenario present itself,” Menendez wrote in the letter.
A spokeswoman for Chrysler was not immediately available for comment.
Menendez said he personally spoke with Chrysler Chief Executive Robert Nardelli about the possibility of a merger with Fiat. “Mr. Nardelli assured me that he would be supportive of such a requirement,” Menendez wrote. (Reporting by John Poirier; Editing by Gary Hill)