More Executives Charged, Penalized for Auto Parts Price Fixing
The Department of Justice announced Nov. 21 that three high-level executives of a Japanese company have each agreed to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and serve between 14 and 19 months in U.S. federal prison for their participation in a conspiracy to fix the prices of seat belts installed in cars sold in the U.S. Separately, a federal grand jury has indicted two executives of another Japanese automotive supplier for their roles in an international conspiracy to fix the prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts sold to a Japanese automaker and installed in U.S. cars. Each of the executives has been charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty for individuals of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine, which may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime.
A total of 26 executives and 21 corporations have now been charged in the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the auto parts industry. To date, more than $1.6 billion in criminal fines have been obtained and 17 of the charged executives have been sentenced or entered into plea agreements under which they will be sentenced to serve time in U.S. prisons.