By Jody Coultas, J.D.
Two Japanese auto parts manufacturers and their U.S. subsidiaries were charged with violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act by knowingly conspiring to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids for automotive parts, the U. S. Department of Justice announced yesterday.
A federal grand jury in Cincinnati charged Tokai Kogyo Co. Ltd., its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, Green Tokai Co. Ltd., and Akitada Tazumi with conspiring to fix the prices of automotive body sealing products sold to Honda Motor Company Ltd. for installation in vehicles manufactured and sold in the United States and elsewhere. The conspiracy stemmed from at least as early as March 2008 until at least August 2011.
Maruyasu Industries Co. Ltd., its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, Curtis-Maruyasu America Inc. (CMA), Tadao Hirade, Satoru Murai, Kazunori Kobayashi and Yoshihiro Shigematsu allegedly conspired to fix prices, allocate customers, and rig bids for automotive steel tubes sold in the United States and elsewhere. Defendants allegedly agreed on—and exchanged information about—bids, price quotations, and price adjustments to be submitted to Honda and agreed to allocate sales of automotive body sealing products sold to Honda. The individual defendants served as sales executives in Japan and sales coordinators in Kentucky.
The companies were the first to be indicted in an ongoing investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry. Sixty four individuals and 44 companies have been charged and have agreed to pay more than $2.7 billion in criminal fines.
Companies: Maruyasu Industries Co., Ltd.; Curtis-Maruyasu America, Inc.; Tokai Kogyo Co., Ltd.; Green Tokai Co., Ltd.
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