Two Denso executives to plead guilty to price-fixing conspiracy

Article by Anita Panait, on May 22, 2013

Two executives at Denso Corp. have agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices of electronic auto components sold to Toyota, according to the United States Department of Justice. The Denso executives, Japanese nationals Yuji Suzuki and Hiroshi Watanabe, have also agreed to cooperate with an ongoing criminal investigation.

The bargain agreement is the latest in an extensive probe onto price fixing for a variety of car components that has covered nine companies and obtained guilty pleas from 14 executives. The Denso executives will serve time in US prison and pay a criminal fine, according to the Justice Department. As part of the bargain agreement, Suzuki and Watanabe will be imprisoned for 16 and 15 months respectively.

According to the Justice Department, the two Denso executives agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix the prices of heater control panels that regulate vehicle temperature and were sold to Toyota Motor Corp. and a US unit. Suzuki likewise agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix the prices of electronic control units that regulate power windows, power locks and other electrical systems.

The bargain also required each executive to pay $20,000 in fines and cooperate with the ongoing probe. Denso pleaded guilty in the conspiracy and agreed to pay $78 million in fines in 2012. The Justice Department's Antitrust Division has also bargained with Autoliv, Tokai Rika Co Ltd, TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Col Ltd, Fujikura Ltd, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd, Yazaki Corp and G.S. Electech.

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