Denso, Yazaki agreed to plead guilty in a widening multicontinent bid-rigging case

Article by Christian A., on February 2, 2012

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that Yazaki Corp. and Denso Corp have agreed to plead guilty in an expanding multicontinent bid-rigging case. Yazaki and Denso, which are two of the biggest auto-parts suppliers in Japan, would pay a combined total of $548 million in criminal fines as part of a plea agreement.

Four of Yazaki's Japanese executives have pleaded guilty and will be imprisoned in the U.S. Denso was accused of conspiracy to charge higher prices on heating-control panels and electronic control units. The Justice Department said that the Yazaki charges involved wire harnesses and related products.

Yazaki will pay a fine of $470 million -- the second highest criminal fine ever imposed for a Sherman Act antitrust violation. On the other hand, Denso will have to pay $78 million. The four Yazaki executives -- Tsuneaki Hanamura, Ryoji Kawai, Shigeru Ogawa and Hisamitsu Takada -- have agreed to serve prison time that span from 15 months to two years.

The Justice Department said that the two-year sentences would be the longest term of imprisonment imposed on a foreign national who is voluntarily submitting to U.S. jurisdiction for violating the Sherman Act antitrust law. The court would still have to approve the fine amounts and prison sentences. On the Automotive News list of the 100 top global suppliers, Yazaki is ranked thirteenth, with total estimated sales of $12.5 billion on its 2010 fiscal year. On this list, Denso came in at No. 2, with total estimated sales of $32.9 billion in 2010. [source: Autonews]

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