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U.S. says Toyota to pay $1.2 billion over safety issues

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ToyotaToyota Motor Corp will pay a record $1.2 billion to resolve a criminal investigation into its handling of consumer complaints over safety issues, the U.S. Justice Department said on Wednesday.

Toyota admitted it misled American consumers by concealing and making deceptive statements about two safety issues, each of which caused a type of unintended acceleration, the Justice Department said.

It is the largest such penalty levied by the United States on an auto company, officials said.

Prosecutors filed criminal charges against the company but agreed to defer and drop them if the company allows an independent monitor to review its safety practices and if it abides by the terms of the deal.

Toyota is "effectively on probation for three years," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office conducted the investigation, said at a press conference announcing the settlement.

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