Judge gives final OK to bankruptcy financing

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 on Thursday. He had given preliminary approval to GM using $15 billion of the total at a hearing earlier this month.

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.

Also at Thursday’s hearing, Gerber denied a request from an unofficial committee of people with asbestos-related claims against the company to appoint a “Tort Czar” that would oversee future claims against the company not just 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 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.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.