Shortly after Toyota chief Akio Toyoda accepted an invite from Congress to appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform next week, committee Chairman Edolphus “Ed” Towns of New York and Ranking GOP Member Darrell Issa of California issued a subpoena to Dimitrios Biller, the car giant’s former National Managing Counsel in the U.S., for “all documents relating to Toyota motor vehicle safety and Toyota’s handling of alleged motor vehicle defects and related litigation.”
“The Committee is conducting a comprehensive, fact-based investigation with the intent of collecting and analyzing as much relevant information as possible,” Congressmen Towns and Issa said in a joint statement. “The only way we can ensure that the safety needs of American drivers are being met is to examine, in a bipartisan fashion, exactly who knew what and when, and if appropriate and immediate action was taken to mitigate any danger to the American public.”
Biller, who left the National Managing Counsel gig in 2007, has spoken up in recent weeks regarding what may be legally questionable behavior on the part of Toyota. “You have to understand that Toyota in Japan does not have any respect for our legal system,” he told ABC News. “They did not have any respect for our laws.” Biller also claims to be in possession of documents that could be damning to the company.
The Oversight Committee’s subpoena overrides an existing injunction Toyota had filed to prevent Biller from revealing the documents.
According to the subpoena, Biller, who says he will cooperate fully, has until 5 p.m. ET on Feb. 23 — the evening before Toyoda is expected to appear to before the Committee — to turn over the documents.