Former Denso exec Kazuaki Fujitani agrees to plead guilty to obstruction of justice

Article by Anita Panait, on February 24, 2014

Kazuaki Fujitani, a former executive at Denso Corp. is expected to serve one year and one day in a prison in the United States after agreeing to plead guilty to one charge of obstruction of justice in the government's ongoing price-fixing probe of auto suppliers. Fujitani was general manager of Denso's Toyota sales division between February 2010 and March 2010 when he deleted "numerous e-mails and electronic documents" after learning that the Federal Bureau of Investigation executed a search warrant on Denso's US unit near Detroit, the Department of Justice said in a statement. The felony charge against Fujitani was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit. 

The files Fujitani deleted messages- covering Aug. 1, 2009 to Jan. 4, 2010 -- that showed communications between Denso and one or more rivals about "requests for quotation" made by Toyota for the heater control panel of the Toyota Avalon.

Toyota holds a 22-percent stake in Denso, which pleaded guilty in March 2012 and was made to pay $78 million in criminal fine for price-fixing its heater control panels and electronic control units. "As per the plea agreement made between the U.S. Department of Justice and DENSO on Jan. 30, 2012, we've been fully cooperating with the DOJ investigation," Denso said in a statement.

We have been taking various measures to further ensure our employees comply with all applicable antitrust laws." Fujitani is one of 29 executives who have been charged in the probe being handled by the DOJ's antitrust unit and the FBI.

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