Japanese Auto Supplier To Pay $200 Million For Price Scam

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DETROIT, Sept. 29 (UPI) — The U.S. Justice Department said a Japanese parts supplier for the automobile industry would pay $200 million to settle a case of price fixing and bid rigging.

Three executives from Japan — Junichi Funo, Hirotsugu Nagata and Tetsuya Ukai — agreed to serve prison sentences that range from 12 to 18 months after pleading guilty to their part in the scam, the department said in a statement.

Four separate one-count felony charges were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit.

The company and the executives “engaged in a conspiracy to rig bids for and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices of automotive wire harnesses and related products sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere,” the statement said.

The charges are part of a broader ongoing investigation in auto parts price fixing with cooperation from the three executives.

“As a result of this international price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy, automobile manufacturers paid non-competitive and higher prices for parts in cars sold to U.S. consumers. This cartel harmed an important industry in our nation’s economy,” said Sharis Pozen, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.

“When companies partner to control and price fix bids or contracts, it undermines the foundation of the United States’ economic system,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Andrew Arena said.

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