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Nearly $60 Million in Criminal Fines for Fixing Prices of Auto Parts and Battery Cells

Monday, July 22, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Department of Justice announced July 18 that a Japan-based manufacturer will plead guilty and pay a $45.8 million criminal fine for its role in a price-fixing conspiracy involving switches, steering angle sensors and automotive high-intensity discharge ballasts installed in cars sold in the U.S. and elsewhere. Separately, a subsidiary of the Japanese company and a leading manufacturer of secondary batteries will pay criminal fines of $10.7 million and $1.06 million, respectively, for price fixing involving battery cells used in notebook computer battery packs. The DOJ notes that the latter fines represent the first two guilty pleas in its ongoing investigation into anticompetitive conduct concerning cylindrical lithium ion battery cells, which are rechargeable batteries often incorporated in groups into more powerful battery packs commonly used to power electronic devices.

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