WASHINGTON (AP) -- Toyota is expected to agree on Monday to pay a fine of more than $16 million for a four-month delay in telling the government about defective gas pedals on its vehicles, the largest civil penalty imposed on an automaker by the government, a Transportation Department official said Sunday.

Toyota faced a deadline to accept or contest the $16.4 million fine over evidence it knew about sticking gas pedals in September but did not issue a recall until January. The Transportation official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, said on condition of anonymity that Toyota was expected to agree to the full fine as a means of avoiding going to court against the government.

The official said Toyota did not intend to accept liability explicitly. But from the government's viewpoint, the official said, the agreement to pay the full fine constitutes an acceptance of responsibility for hiding the safety defect in violation of the law.

Toyota did not immediately comment.
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