Panasonic Corp. agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing allegations involving auto components sold to Honda, Mazda, Nissan and Toyota, the United States Department of Justice has disclosed. The company agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing on turn, wiper and other switches and steering angle sensors sold to Toyota Motor Corp., and high intensity discharge ballasts sold to Honda Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co.
Panasonic also agreed to plead guilty to three felony counts with regards with the conspiracy. According to the Justice Department, Panasonic agreed to pay around $45.8 million in criminal fine. In a related matter, Panasonic units Sanyo Electric Co. and LG Chem Ltd pleaded guilty to fixing prices of cylindrical lithium ion battery cells used in notebook computers, the department said.
Facing one count of price-fixing, Panasonic Sanyo agreed to pay $10.7 million while LG Chem nodded to pay $1.1 million. The charges were the first in a battery cell probe. Ten other companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the auto parts probe.
They include Diamond Electric Manufacturing Co., Tokai Rika, Autoliv, TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Co., Fujikura Ltd., Furukawa Electric Co., Denso Corp., Yazaki Corp. and G.S. Electech. Around 15 company executives either face sentencing or were already sentenced to jail time and fines. [source: Reuters]