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U.S. Penalizes Takata $1 Billion and Charges Three Executives with Fraud

14 January 2017

Regulators have said recalls would eventually affect about 42 million US vehicles with almost 70 million Takata air bag inflators, making this the largest safety recall in USA history.

Hideo Nakajima, Tsuneo Chikaraishi and Shinichi Tanaka are Japanese citizens and not in US custody.

So far Takata's faulty airbags have been linked to 16 worldwide deaths, including 11 in the United States.

The U.S. Attorney's Office said they've reached a $1 billion plea deal with the corporation, which pleaded guilty to one criminal charge and a $25-million criminal fine.

The Takata airbag recall affected 42 million US vehicles, making it the largest in the industry's history.

For the unfamiliar, the recall of faulty airbag inflators - a whopping 28.8 million before May 2016- from Takata is considered the biggest in U.S.' auto history.

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Takata is at the center of a massive recall of inflators that can explode in a crash, spewing metal shrapnel inside the vehicles.

Takata has been fined $70 million by US safety regulators for delays in disclosing the inflator defect, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has warned that the company could face an additional $130 million penalty if it doesn't fulfill the terms of a consent order agreed to in November of 2015.

The U.S. Justice Department accused Takata of concealing the fatal flaw in the airbags by submitting fake safety test reports and said the company did not take disciplinary action against those who falsified test data until 2015.

The indictments were unsealed Friday, just ahead of a Justice Department news conference to announce a corporate penalty against the Japanese company.

In 2015 Takata admitted that it provided the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as well as automakers with "selective, incomplete or inaccurate data" regarding the safety of its airbags. They held executive-level roles in both Japan and the U.S. that involved regular communication about the design, production and testing of air bag inflators, according to the indictment, which was filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of MI. The recalls would phase out the use of ammonium nitrate as a propellant, a chemical that other inflator makers don't use.

U.S. Penalizes Takata $1 Billion and Charges Three Executives with Fraud