Ex-Auto Parts Exec Charged with Price Fixing

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June 19, 2014—A former top executive of a Japanese automotive parts manufacturer received a one-count indictment for his participation in a price fixing conspiracy, the Department of Justice announced earlier this month.

A Detroit federal grand jury charged Gikou Nakajim, a former executive at Takata Corp., with participating in a conspiracy to fix the prices of seatbelts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Company, Nissan Motor Co. Mazda Motor Corp, and Fuji Heavy Industries.

The indictment is the most recent action in a larger investigation into price fixing in the automotive industry. Takata Corp. pleaded guilty in Dec. of 2013, for its involvement in the conspiracy and was fined $71.3 million.

The conspiracy was aimed to eliminate competition in the automotive parts industry by rigging bids and stabilizing and maintaining the prices of seatbelts in the United States between 2005 to 2009, according to the charges.

“Today’s indictment demonstrates that the Antitrust Division continues to hold accountable executives who collude with their competitors,” said Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program.  “The division will not tolerate executives participating in—and directing their subordinates to participate in—conspiracies to raise the prices on automotive parts that are essential to the safety of U.S. consumers.”

To date, 35 people and 27 companies have been charged in the government’s investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. They have been sentenced to pay more than $2.3 billion in fines and many will serve time in a U.S. prison.

For more information on the investigation visit the Department of Justice online.

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