A United States congressional committee has found that the Japanese carmaker Toyota routinely concealed records it was required to submit in court.
Edolphus Towns, who chairs the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which is investigating Toyota's handling of safety recalls, says a paper trail of Toyota's alleged misconduct in defending itself against personal injury suits has been revealed in documents subpoenaed from a former lawyer for the company.
The documents had multiple references to secret data in so-called "books of knowledge" kept in electronic form by Toyota engineers.
Mr Towns says Toyota made multi-million-dollar settlements to conceal the existence of thse books, which contain design and testing data for all vehicle lines and parts.
Toyota has had to recall more than eight million vehicles worldwide following complaints of uncontrolled engine acceleration and other problems.