(Adds Toyota statement to CNN, details)
WASHINGTON, March 18 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)