UPDATE 1-Toyota in U.S. settlement over unintended acceleration -CNN

Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:46pm EDT

(Adds Toyota statement to CNN, details)

WASHINGTON, March 18 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department has reached a $1 billion settlement with Toyota Motor Corp over the automaker's handling of consumer complaints tied to unintended vehicle acceleration and is set to announce the agreement as early as Wednesday, CNN reported.

Sources familiar with the deal told CNN that Toyota was expected to avoid criminal charges.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan has been probing allegations the Japanese company misled U.S. authorities after the complaints about the unintended acceleration emerged. The acceleration issue prompted Toyota to recall millions of vehicles beginning in 2009.

"Toyota has cooperated with the U.S. attorney's office in this matter for more than four years," a Toyota spokeswoman told CNN. "During that time, we have made fundamental changes to become a more responsive and customer-focused organization, and we are committed to continued improvements."

Officials at the U.S. Attorney General's Office could not immediately be reached for comment.

The automaker last year paid more than $1 billion to resolve economic-loss claims related to the recall. (Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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