Feds charge 7 in price-fixing probe
Washington — – The Justice Department said Thursday a federal grand jury in Detroit indicted seven executives at two Japanese auto parts companies in the latest round of the government’s wide-ranging price fixing and bid-rigging probe.
A three-count indictment in U.S. District Court in Detroit filed Thursday charges Atsushi Ueda, Minoru Kurisaki, and Hideyuki Saito of Mitsubishi Electric Corp. with conspiring to fix the prices of starter motors, alternators and ignition coils. Only Saito still works for the company. A separate one-count indicment in Detroit charges Takashi Toyokuni, Ken Funasaki, Kazunobu Tsunekawa and Tomiya Itakura of Hitachi Automotive. All three still work for the company.
The Justice Department said the Mitsubishi Electric parts were sold to Ford Motor Company, General Motors Co, Chrysler Group LLC, Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (the parent of Subaru), Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. in the United States and around the world. They were also accused of conspiring to obstruct justice by destroying documents and trying to persuade others destroy evidence.
Hitachi sold starter motors, alternators, air flow meters, valve timing control devices, fuel injection systems, electronic throttle bodies, ignition coils and inverters and motor generators sold to Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota and Honda.
To date, 43 individuals have been charged in the government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Of those, 26 have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from a year and one day to two years. Additionally, 28 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.4 billion in fines.