Takata Pleads Guilty To Pay $1 Billion in Criminal Fines

Japan's Takata Corp pleaded guilty to a felony charge as part of an expected $1 billion deal with the U.S. Justice Department that includes compensation funds for automakers and victims of its faulty airbag inflators

Japan's Takata removed a major obstacle to its potential sale or restructuring, pleading guilty in a United States federal court to a felony charge as part of a $1 billion settlement that included compensation funds for carmakers and victims of its faulty airbag inflators.

Takata is expected to enter a guilty plea to one criminal charge at a hearing in Detroit Monday.

The Justice Department reportedly is still seeking extradition for three former Takata executives who live in Japan.

Prieo's court filing points to specific evidence of this malfeasance, as well. He handled General Motors Co.'s ignition switch fund, as well as compensation for victims of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and BP Plc's 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill. If exposed to sustained high temperatures and humidity, the chemical can deteriorate and burn too quickly.

The attorneys allege the automakers knew about the defective airbag inflators for years but kept on using them.

The bad news is-at least according to some observers-the settlement complicates the question of whether automakers are partly to blame for the widespread use of Takata's airbags.

Steeh told parties in court that he had considered tougher sentencing.

From 2000 to 2015, the Japanese auto parts supplier is accused of falsifying data to cover up known defects about its faulty airbags in testing reports given to automakers. The automakers asserted in the court that Takata was the sole offender, and they were simply an unassuming party to a cover-up.

One unidentified auto maker referred to an air bag that ruptured in 2009 as a "passenger protection device.transformed into a killing weapon", according to the court documents filed Monday in a Miami federal court as part of consolidated litigation against vehicle companies and Takata. Lawsuits are now alleging that certain vehicle makers knew about the exploding Takata airbags and had installed them anyway.

"The automotive defendants were aware that rupture after rupture, both during testing and in the field, confirmed how unsafe and defective Takata's air bags were", the lawsuit argues.

Nissan switching to Takata inflators to save roughly $4 per unit.

Representatives for BMW, Ford, Honda and Nissan did not immediately return a request for comment.

"The conduct leading to today's plea was completely unacceptable", Nomura said. The company also labeled as false an allegation that it proceeded with Takata inflators for cost reasons while knowing they were risky.

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