The U.S. Department of Justice has expanded its investigation on the automobile tooling industry over anti-trust allegations. It has asked Magna International Inc. to provide documents related to tooling bids. Canada-based Magna, one of the largest auto-parts makers in the world, has said that it is cooperating with the probe.
The department is asking Magna to provide information on a tooling program where its subsidiary under its Cosma International operating unit served as tier 1 tooling supplier.
In the past few months, anti-trust regulators in the U.S., Europe and Japan have been looking more closely into the U.S. automotive supply chain. Last September, Japanese supplier Furukawa Electric Co. said that it will pay a $200 million fine. Three executives are set to go in front of a judge in U.S. District Court in Detroit to enter a guilty plea for their role in alleged global price-fixing among automotive wire-harness suppliers on three continents.
This fine is regarded as the biggest judgment that the antitrust division has gotten from a Michigan prosecution or an automotive company. In fact, it has its place among the top 10 fines of all time. The investigation, which lasted 20 months, was centered on Furukawa's North American subsidiary, American Furukawa.
However, the FBI as well as regulators in Japan and Europe raided other suppliers too for violating antitrust regulations. Japan's Fair Trade Commission conducted a raid in February 2010 of the Tokyo offices of Furukawa, Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. and Yazaki Corp. as part of a broadened investigation over collusion claims that go back to at least 2003. [source: CrainsDetroit]