Takata to plead guilty Feb. 27: court documents

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By David Shepardson | WASHINGTON

WASHINGTON Japan’s Takata Corp is set to plead
guilty Feb. 27 in federal court in Detroit to a single felony
count of wire fraud to resolve a U.S. Justice Department
investigation into ruptures of its air bag inflators linked to
at least 16 deaths worldwide, according to a court filing
Tuesday.

Last month, the auto parts firm agreed to the guilty plea as
part of a $1 billion settlement in the world’s largest ever
recall.

U.S. prosecutors also charged three former senior Takata
executives in Japan with falsifying test results to conceal the
inflator defect linked the recall of about 100 million air bag
inflators worldwide.

Takata has agreed to pay a $25 million fine, $125 million in
a victim compensation fund, including for future incidents, and
$850 million to compensate automakers for massive recall costs,
the Justice Department said. The auto parts supplier will be
required to make significant reforms and be on probation and
under the oversight of an independent monitor for three years.

Last month, three senior Takata executives in the United
States left the company, including Kevin Kennedy, who was
president of Takata North America. Kennedy confirmed his
departure in a posting on the employment networking website
LinkedIn but did not return emails.

Reuters reported Monday that Key Safety Systems (KSS) Inc
has been selected to lead its turnaround, fanning concern that a
court-led restructuring was on the cards.
The Nikkei business daily, which first reported the news of
KSS’s selection, said automakers would support the pick on
condition Takata pursue a court-mediated turnaround in both
Japan and the United States, a move that could wipe out
shareholders’ equity.

In a statement late on Saturday, Takata denied that it had
selected KSS as its sponsor or a court-led restructuring as the
way forward.



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