Takata Close to Settling US Criminal Probe: Sources

Takata Close to Settling US Criminal Probe: Sources

The Japanese auto parts supplier could reach a final agreement with the US Department of Justice before President-elect Donald Trump assumes office January 20.

Takata is close to settling a U.S. criminal probe into the exploding airbag scandal, two people familiar with the matter said Wednesday.

The Japanese auto parts supplier could reach a final agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice before President-elect Donald Trump assumes office January 20, the sources told AFP, broadly confirming a report in the Wall Street Journal. 

Officials want Takata to recognize its wrongdoing and pay a financial penalty that could exceed $1 billion, one source said.

Prosecutors are hoping to have an agreement by January, as part of the outgoing Obama administration's efforts to close the book on outstanding cases before Trump's inauguration, the Wall Street Journal said. 

Some 100 million Takata airbags have been recalled worldwide over a defect that can send metal and plastic shrapnel from the inflator canister hurtling toward drivers and passengers when an airbag is deployed. 

The defect has been linked to 11 U.S. fatalities and 15 worldwide. U.S. regulators have said the problem is more dangerous in southern parts of the United States with warmer and more humid climates.

Nearly every major carmaker has been forced to recall cars because of the defect, including General Motors, Honda, BMW and Tesla.

In November 2015, the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration imposed a record $200 million civil fine against Takata for providing inadequate and inaccurate information to regulators about the defect.

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