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The Department of Justice has announced a $13.8 million criminal fine against a Tokyo-based company that pleaded guilty to conspiring with competitors between 2002 and 2013 to fix prices for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere. Electrolytic capacitors store and regulate electrical current in “just about every product that has a battery or a plug,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer, including computers, televisions, car engine and airbag systems, home appliances and office equipment.
A DOJ press release states that the one-count felony charge resulted from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the capacitor industry. As part of its plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, the Japanese company has agreed to cooperate in this investigation.