Former UAW executive charged in widening corruption probe

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DETROIT (AP) -- A retired vice president is the latest to be charged in a corruption scandal at the United Auto Workers union.

Joe Ashton is accused of getting thousands of dollars in kickbacks from a contractor who made watches for union members.

The 58,000 watches are still in storage five years later.

Ashton was charged Wednesday with conspiracy.

The case is filed in Detroit federal court as a "criminal information," which means a guilty plea is expected.

Ashton is the 13th person to be charged in a federal investigation of the UAW and auto companies.

The identity of his lawyer wasn't immediately known.

Ashton was a powerful official who headed the UAW's General Motors department. He also was a member of the GM board.

UAW President Gary Jones was placed on paid leave last weekend after a key ally was charged.

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