Federal prosecutors brought criminal charges against three Takata executives and fined the Japanese auto-parts maker $1 billion for concealing information about faulty air bags, leading to the deaths of several motorists and prompting the largest safety recall in U.S. history, the Washington Post reports. Shinichi Tanaka, Hideo Nakajima and Tsuneo Chikaraishi, all of Japan, were indicted on charges connected to deceiving automobile companies about known defects in order to continue selling products they knew failed safety tests. At the time national recalls began in 2015, Takata was the world’s second-largest provider of air bags. On Friday, the Justice Department announced that Takata would plead guilty to one count of fraud and pay $25 million to settle the criminal charge. The company will also pay $850 million to automakers and $125 million to those injured as a result of the defect, according to a plea agreement.
Takata chief executive Shigehisa Takada said the company “deeply regrets the circumstances that have led to this situation and remains fully committed to being part of the solution.” The settlement comes just days after the Justice Department announced that six executives at Volkswagen were indicted in that automaker’s emissions-cheating scandal. The faulty Takata air bags could rupture or explode and propel shrapnel into the vehicle. The defect has been tied to 11 deaths and more than 180 injuries in the U.S., says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. NHTSA has recalled more than 64 million air bags, installed in 42 million vehicles made by just most brands on the market.