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Takata agrees to a guilty plea, pays $1B for hiding defects

The Prosecutor of the V. S. Barbara McQuade of the Eastern District of Michigan addresses the media, Friday, Jan. 13, 2017, in Detroit. McQuade announced that Takata Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal prosecution and the payment of $ 1 billion in fines and restitution for a year long scheme to conceal a fatal defect in the automotive airbag inflators. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

(Associated Press)

DETROIT – Takata Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to a single criminal prosecution and the payment of $ 1 billion in fines and restitution for a year long scheme to conceal a fatal defect in the automotive airbag inflators.

The U. S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit, announced the plea deal on Friday, the day that this dirt a six-count grand jury indictment against three former Takata executives who are accused of running the scheme by falsifying and changing the test reports showed that the inflators could rupture.

The Takata inflators can explode with too much force, spewing shrapnel in cars. At least 11 people have been killed by the inflators in the U.S. and worldwide 16. More than 180 injured.

Under the plea deal, Takata will pay a $25 million criminal fine, $125 million to people injured by the air bags and $850 million to manufacturers who purchased the inflators.

A U.S. district Court judge in Detroit has appointed lawyer Kenneth Feinberg to distribute a refund of payments.

Payments to individuals must be made quickly. Money by car manufacturers, must be paid within five days of Takata’s expected sale or merger. Takata is expected to be sold to another car dealer or investor sometime this year.

“Automotive suppliers who sell products that are supposed to protect consumers from injury or death should the safety ahead of profit,” said Barbara McQuade, the Attorney of the V. S. in Detroit, whose office worked on a two-year investigation into the company. “If they instead, to engage in fraud, we hold accountable the individuals and companies who are responsible.”

Takata, based in Japan, has U.S. headquarters in the suburb of Detroit, Auburn Hills, Michigan.

From 2015, Takata was the second largest supplier of airbags in the world, accounting for 20 percent of the air bags sold.

The government said that Takata had minimal internal checks and is unaware of its officers’ misbehavior for years. She suggested that Takata falsified test data to deceive the car manufacturers used air pumps in their vehicles. As soon as senior Takata executives learn that employees had falsified airbag reports, in 2009, they are not to take disciplinary action against employees up to and including 2015.

“Cheaters are not allowed to gain an advantage over the good citizens who play by the rules,” McQuade said.

All three of the directors who are in charge now in Japan and were interrupted by Takata last year.

McQuade said her office is working with the Japanese authorities to do everything in her power to deliver them to the USA to face the trial.

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This headline of this story was corrected to show that Takata has agreed to plead guilty, but not yet in the plea.

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