WASHINGTON A federal grand jury indicted three
former Takata Corp executives for criminal wrongdoing
in the Japanese auto parts maker’s handling of air bag inflator
ruptures linked to at least 16 deaths around the world.
Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima and Tsuneo Chikaraishi,
longtime Takata executives who left the company in 2015, were
indicted on wire fraud and conspiracy charges for allegedly
convincing automakers to buy “faulty, inferior, non-performing,
non-compliant or dangerous inflators” through false reports.
Arrest warrants were issued for all three executives.
The six-count indictment, unsealed on Friday, says Takata
executives knew in 2000 that the inflators were not performing
to automakers specifications and were failing during testing.
U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade in Detroit will hold a press
conference to announce a settlement in the case at 1:30 p.m. EST
(1830 GMT), her office said in a statement.
Reuters reported on Thursday that Takata was expected to
plead guilty to criminal wrongdoing as part of a $1 billion deal
with the U.S. Justice Department. The settlement includes a $25
million criminal fine, $125 million in victim compensation and
$850 million to compensate automakers who have suffered losses
from massive recalls, sources with knowledge of the matter said.
Takata corporate settlement documents were to be released
shortly, the sources said. The company’s shares rose 16.5
percent in trading in Japan on news of the settlement.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit said it was not clear where the defendants are or if they have
lawyers. They do not currently have a date to appear in court.
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