$35.8 Million Fine on Japanese Auto Parts Company for Anticompetitive Acts
The Department of Justice announced Nov. 13 that an automotive parts manufacturer based in Japan has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $35.8 million criminal fine for its role in a nearly decade-long conspiracy to allocate customers of variable valve timing devices sold to automobile manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere. According to a DOJ press release, the company and its co-conspirators were alleged to have held meetings and conversations to discuss and agree upon the customers to whom each would sell VVT devices as well as the bids and price quotations each would submit for VVT devices.
The press release notes that a total of 31 companies and 46 individuals have now been charged in the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the auto parts industry. All 31 companies have either pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion in criminal fines. Of the 46 individuals, 26 have been sentenced to serve time in U.S. prisons or have entered into plea agreements calling for significant prison sentences.