General Motors is going to pay a $900 million fine and be criminally charged for hiding a defect from regulators in order to end a federal investigation, according to sources who spoke Reuters. That’s less than the $1.2 billion Toyota paid, but it’s still a massive fine.

The investigation stems from the ignition system design flaw on numerous General Motors cars that contributed to airbags not properly deploying in accidents, contribute to more than 120 deaths in car accidents according to the attorney hired by the company to dole out compensation.

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Engineers knew of the problem for more than a decade, but the company did not begin recalls until 2014. GM still faces more that 200 civil lawsuits over the defects.

Here’s what Reuters knows:

The deal means GM will be charged criminally with hiding the defect from regulators and in the process defrauding consumers, but the case will be put on hold while GM fulfills terms of the deal, one source said.

No individuals would be charged in the criminal case, one of the sources said.

That’s a big win for General Motors and not at all surprising given that, despite the many deaths, almost no one is ever held personally accountable.

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We don’t yet know what the charges are and what other penalties go along with the fine, but it sounds like we’ll know Thursday.


Contact the author at matt@jalopnik.com. Photo Credit: Getty Images