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WSJ '토요타, 급발진 문제 1조원 합의중'

미국에서 급발진 문제로 수사를 받던 토요타가 벌금 10억 달러 (약 1조755억원) 이상을 내고 기소를 면할 전망이라고 월스트리트저널이 보도했다.

토요타는 급발진 결함 문제를 미국 당국에 거짓으로 보고하거나 부실하게 알렸다는 의혹을 받아 4년째 연방 검찰의 수사를 받고 있다.

조안 클레이브룩 전 고속도로교통안전국(NHTSA) 국장은 WSJ과의 인터뷰에서 “형사 제재를 피하려고 안간힘을 써왔던 만큼 이번 협정이 성사된다면 기념비적 사건이 될 것”이라고 설명했다.

토요타는 지난 2009년 미국에서 급발진 논란에 휘말리기 시작해 집단 소송을 낸 원고들에게 우리 돈 1조1000억여원을 물어주고 차량 1만대 이상을 리콜했다.


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Toyota close to $1 bln deal to settle U.S. probe –WSJ

Toyota Motor Corp is close to a deal to pay $1 billion to settle a U.S. criminal investigation into how it disclosed customers' complaints about unintended acceleration years ago, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing anonymous sources.

Toyota could reach a deal with U.S. authorities within weeks, the Journal quoted the sources as saying, ending a four-year probe into one of the Japanese automaker's most embarrassing international episodes.

The deal under negotiation could still collapse, or the settlement amount could change, the sources were cited assaying.

"Toyota continues to cooperate with the U.S. attorney's office in this matter," spokeswoman Julie Hamp said in an emailed statement. "And in the nearly four years since this inquiry began, we've made fundamental changes to become more responsive and customer focused, and we're committed to continue to improve.

"Prosecutors in the Manhattan U.S. attorney's office are looking into whether Toyota made false or incomplete disclosures to U.S. regulators about possible car defects, the Journal cited people familiar with the matter as saying. They are also looking into possible mail and wire fraud violations connected to alleged false disclosures, the Journal said without elaborating.

Toyota is facing hundreds of lawsuits over acceleration issues, which gained public attention after the deaths of a California highway patrolman and his family that was reportedly caused by the unintended acceleration of his Lexus.

That prompted the Japanese automaker to recall millions of vehicles starting in 2009. At the time, the recall and resulting lawsuits were a surprise for a company long associated with quality and reliability.

Toyota has been hit with more than 200 proposed class action and 500 individual lawsuits alleging personal injuries or property damage caused by the alleged acceleration problems.

The Japanese company has maintained the electronic throttle control system was not at fault, blaming ill-fitting floor mats and sticky gas pedals.

A study by federal safety officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and NASA found no link between reports of unintended acceleration and Toyota's electronic throttle control system. (Reuters)