Japanese autoparts maker Takata Corp. will pay a $1b settlement over its handling of faulty airbags. And three executives were charged with criminal wrongdoing, part of an ongoing shift in settlement strategy. Jeanne Yurman reports.
Japan's Takata Corporation will pay a billion dollars in a settlement with the U.S. government over its handling of faulty airbags linked to at least 16 deaths worldwide. In addition to the billion, the auto parts maker will also plead guilty to a single felony count of wire fraud. Separately a federal grand jury indicted three former Takata executives for fraud and conspiracy. While Takata's settlement is dwarfed by others like the $200 billion deal with the tobacco industry, it is the biggest ever in the auto industry. And it marks a shift: U.S. prosecutors increasingly holding executives accountable for corporate wrongdoing as a prerequisite to strike a deal with the government. Former federal prosecutor Jennifer Rodgers is executive director of The Center for Public Integrity at Columbia Law Shcool. SOUNDBITE: JENNIFER RODGERS, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR FOR THE CENTER FOR PUBLIC INTEGRITY AT COLUMBIA LAW SCHOOL (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I think both the announcement about the VW case earlier in the week where six executives were charged and now the Takata announcement that three execs have been charged shows that they're serious about the policy." Rodgers says she expects more individuals will be charged in these corporate criminal cases. The U.S. attorney investigating Takata said Friday the company knew as early as 2000 that certain inflators weren't performing properly. As reports of problems surfaced Takata was slow to cooperate and provide authorities requested information.