Grand Jury Issues Subpoenas, Opens Criminal Investigation In Toyota Recall

Answering all those people who asked, “Shouldn’t the Justice Department be the ones handling the Toyota recall hearings?”, the car company confirmed today that both federal prosecutors and the Securities and Exchange Commission have already dropped a load of subpoenas on their desks.

On Feb. 8, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of New York issued subpoenas to the car maker, looking for documents pertaining to complaints of sudden acceleration in several of its vehicles. They are also looking into the recent revelation of braking problems in Toyota’s Prius cars.

Meanwhile, on the opposite coast, the SEC’s L.A. office issued a subpoena and a voluntary document request to Toyota on Feb. 19.

This news comes right on the heels of this weekend’s release of a document that showed company executives boasting about saving $100 million by convincing federal regulators to close their investigation of a recall of 55,000 vehicles.

And while some worry that these investigations will put a damper on Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda’s appearance before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform this Wednesday, the Committee’s Ranking GOP Member Darrell Issa says he still expects Toyoda to answer the questions he’s asked.

“Toyota has maintained they have nothing to hide and we expect them to provide straight-forward and honest testimony,” said Issa’s spokesperson Kurt Bardella.

That sounds good and all, but do you think Toyoda will speak candidly about his company’s handling of the scandal, especially since anything he might say before the Committee could be used against his company if the case ever comes to court?

Toyota gets US grand jury subpoena for documents [Washington Post]