Robert Mueller will leave Takata fund role to head Russia investigation

Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, is expected to leave his position as head of a compensation fund for Takata airbag victims after he was appointed as a special counsel for the US Justice Department. Mueller will head an investigation into Russia's possible interference with the US presidential election. Automotive News reports that Mueller was named to the Takata role just last month by US District Judge George Steeh. It's unclear when a successor will be named.

The fund consisted of an $850 million allocation for automakers that purchased Takata airbags and a $125 million fund for people harmed or potentially harmed by the dangerous airbags. Mueller was also linked to Volkswagen's diesel emissions violations settlement.

Mueller was head of the FBI for 12 years under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama. Only J. Edgar Hoover held the job longer than Mueller, and he was held in such high regard that Congress passed a law extending an FBI director's 10-year term on Mueller's behalf.

He left the bureau in 2013 to join private law firm WilmerHale. The Justice Department says Mueller has resigned the firm to prevent any conflicts of interest that might arise in the Russia investigation. In another intersection with the auto industry, while working at WilmerHale, Mueller had also been named to help lead settlement of U.S. lawsuits in the Volkswagen Dieselgate emissions-testing scandal.

Mueller will take over his new role as special counsel immediately.

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