FILE PHOTO: The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. company logo is seen in Westminster, Colorado

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. company logo is seen in Westminster, on Aug. 27, 2013.

(Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department is investigating Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co for its handling of a recalled tire that has been linked to eight deaths and dozens of injuries, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter and documents reviewed by the newspaper.

The federal prosecutors have sought company records and depositions from an Arizona plaintiffs' attorney produced as part of civil litigation filed against Goodyear years ago, according to a copy of a grand jury subpoena seen by WSJ. 

"We cooperated fully with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) review of the G159 275/70R22.5 tire, which concluded in June, 2022," the company said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

DOJ did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. Goodyear's shares were down 2% at $11.10 in premarket trading on Wednesday.

In June last year, Goodyear said it would recall 173,000 G159 tires used on recreational vehicles because of the potential of catastrophic tread separations.

The move was made after U.S. auto safety regulators formally asked the manufacturer to replace them. However, the company said in October that it did not believe its tires were defective.

The subpoena is being issued as part of a criminal investigation and involves prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office of the Central District in California and the DOJ's consumer-protection branch, the report added.

(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru, additional reporting by Priyamvada C; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)

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