US announces $1.2B settlement with Toyota over its disclosure of safety problems

The Associated Press

FILE - In this Nov. 5, 2010 file photo released by the Utah Highway Patrol, a Toyota Camry is shown after it crashed as it exited Interstate 80 in Wendover, Utah. Police suspect problems with the Camry's accelerator or floor mat caused the crash that left two people dead and two others injured. The Wall Street Journal is reporting Wednesday March 19, 2014 the U.S. Justice Department may reach a $ 1 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp., ending a four-year criminal investigation into the Japanese automaker's disclosure of safety problems. (AP Photo/Utah Highway Patrol, File)

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By ERIC TUCKER and TOM KRISHER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. has reached a $1.2 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. and filed a criminal charge alleging the Japanese automaker defrauded consumers by issuing misleading statements about safety issues in Toyota and Lexus vehicles.

Under the agreement, announced Wednesday by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, the company will admit that it misled U.S. consumers by making deceptive statements about two safety issues affecting its vehicles. As a result, Toyota will pay a $1.2 billion financial penalty under a "deferred prosecution agreement."

It is the largest penalty of its kind imposed on an automotive company by the U.S., Holder said.

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