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US Justice Department requests info on Kobe Steel falsified data

Kobe Steel

By Tom Davis

Tokyo, Japan — October 18, 2017 — The United States Department of Justice has demanded that Kobe Steel provide documentation in regards to its faked product data scandal.

The news comes after the company, which is based in Japan, released a statement last week reporting that its aluminum and copper business had supplied thousands of tons of materials to OEMs that did not meet the required specifications.  

A new statement released by Kobe Steel confirmed its US subsidiary, Kobe Steel USA, had received a document from the US judicial administrative authority requesting the production of documents related to “non-conformity with the specification of products sold by the company.”

The statement added: “The company and its subsidiaries will sincerely cooperate with the investigation.”

The company previously said that data in inspection certificates had been “improperly rewritten” for 19,300 tons of aluminum products, 2,200 tons of copper products and 19,400 units of aluminum castings and forgings between September 1, 2016 and August 31, 2017.

The main products Kobe Steel cited included aluminum flat-rolled products, aluminum extrusions, copper strips, copper tubes and aluminum castings and forgings.

A report by Bloomberg Markets claims that Kobe’s global review of its products will “probably reveal” that data falsification began up to 10 years ago, or perhaps even longer.

The company previously said 200 firms had been affected by the scandal, however, according to a report by BBC News, Kobe Steel has increased this number to 500 as well as finding “inappropriate actions” relating to nine more products.

It’s not yet clear which OEMs might have received materials related to the scandal, although the Japanese economics newspaper, The Nikkei, claims products with falsified data were used in vehicles built by the likes of General Motors, Tesla, Daimler and Peugeot maker Groupe PSA, on top of Japanese automakers such as Toyota Motor, Nissan Motor and Honda Motor.

Previously, a spokesperson for Subaru told Collision Repair magazine that the company was investigating the situation but it couldn’t say more. Meanwhile, other OEMs were either unwilling to comment or unavailable at the time of publication.

Kobe Steel’s recent statement finished: “The effect this incident will have on the company’s business performance is unclear at this time. The company plans to make another announcement when the extent of the impact becomes clear.”

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