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Takata settles faulty airbags probe in US

TK Holdings Inc., the U.S. arm of Japanese auto parts manufacturer Takata Corp., reached a settlement with 44 attorneys general over allegedly concealing deadly safety defects in its airbags that reportedly left at least 20 people dead and hundreds more injured worldwide.

The settlement includes a civil penalty of $650 million as well as payment of investigative costs incurred by various state authorities, according to a statement from South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson's office. The multistate authorities, however, have decided to waive the civil penalty in order to maximize payments to the victims.

TK Holdings filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection June 2017 in the wake of a large-scale recall and after agreeing in January 2017 to pay $1 billion in criminal penalties, which included compensation for victims as well as affected automakers, according to CNBC.

TK Holdings' reorganization plan has been confirmed by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The consent decree and settlement agreement have been presented to that court for approval.

Under the settlement agreement, TK has agreed to not call its airbags safe unless supported by competent and reliable scientific or engineering evidence, not falsify or manipulate testing data and continue to cooperate with auto manufacturers to ensure that replacement airbag inflators are made available as quickly as possible from all possible sources.

Since 2008, auto manufacturers have recalled 50 million airbags in more than 37 million vehicles to date, the attorney general's office said. The recalls are expected to continue through the end of 2019, bringing the total number of affected airbags to about 65 million to 70 million.