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Japanese Auto Parts Company Fined $56.6 Million for Price Fixing

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Justice announced Jan. 16 that a Japanese company has agreed to plead guilty and pay a total of $56.6 million in criminal fines for its roles in separate conspiracies to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of, automobile lighting fixtures and high-intensity discharge lamp ballasts installed in cars sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. The company, which was involved in these conspiracies for well over a decade, has also agreed to cooperate with the DOJ’s ongoing investigations into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the auto parts industry.

According to a DOJ press release, automotive lighting fixtures include automobile headlamps and rear combination lamp assemblies that employ various bulb technologies and are used for forward illumination, visibility and signaling vehicular functions such as braking, reversing direction and turning. HID lamp ballasts regulate the electrical current used to ignite and control the electrical arc that generates the intensely bright light emitted by an automotive HID headlamp fixture.

DOJ states that a total of 24 corporations have now pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in these investigations and agreed to pay a total of more than $1.8 billion in fines. Additionally, 26 individuals have been charged.

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