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Denso, Yazaki Plead Guilty in Massive Bid-Rigging Case

Fines top $500 million.

by on Jan.31, 2012

Japan's Denso and Yazaki will pay almost $550 million in fines for bid-rigging, while key executives will serve jail time.

Two of Japan’s largest suppliers of automotive electrical components–Yazaki Corp and DENSO Corp. –have agreed to plead guilty and to pay more than a half billion dollars in criminal fines for their involvement in bid-rigging conspiracies in the sale of parts to automobile manufacturers in the United States, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced.

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Four executives from Yazaki Corp. North American operations in Detroit, all Japanese nationals, have also agreed to plead guilty and to serve prison time in the United States. The conspiracy targeted companies such as Honda, Toyota and Subaru which have manufacturing operations in the US, according to document filed by the DOJ.

By itself, Yazaki has agreed to pay a $470 million criminal fine–the second largest criminal fine obtained for a Sherman Act antitrust violation–and DENSO has agreed to pay a $78 million criminal fine.


Antitrust Matters Emerge in European Community

Automotive electronics pricing at suppliers is under scrutiny.

by on Feb.26, 2010

“Lear is cooperating fully with the European Commission..."

Lear Corporation has just reported that it is part of an investigation into anti-competitive practices among automotive electrical and electronic component suppliers by the European Commission.

The EU Commission said it was investigating several suppliers, but so far, only Lear and Leoni Kabel Gmbh of Roth, Germany, have acknowledged they are part of the ongoing investigation.

Japan’s Fair Trade Commission has raided offices of Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd. and Furukawa Electric Company.

“Lear is cooperating fully with the European Commission in their investigation, and I am confident that our Company is not involved in any anti-competitive practices,” said Bob Rossiter, Lear’s chairman and chief executive officer.
The antitrust investigations are looking at whether the companies improperly divided business with automakers, the EC statement said.

“The commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated [European Union] antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive businesses practice,” the EC said.

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Earlier this week the Federal Bureau of Investigation and U.S. Department of Justice also appeared unannounced and uninvited at the offices of three different Japanese automotive suppliers in the Detroit area, raising questions about whether the investigation was triggered by complaints from automakers.   (more…)

FBI Raids Three Key Japanese Auto Suppliers

Potential antitrust violations under investigation.

by on Feb.24, 2010

Denso was one of three Japanese auto electronics suppliers to be raided by the FBI.

Concerns about potential antitrust violations led the FBI to raid the U.S. offices of three major Japanese suppliers, though it is unclear if still other manufacturers are involved in the investigation.

Among the company’s targeted were Denso Corporation,  one of the world’s largest producers of automotive components and a member of the Toyota Motor keiretsu, a closely-linked network of cross-held companies that characterizes the way the auto industry operates in Japan.  Also raided were Yazaki North America and Tokai Rika.

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A spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department confirmed that the government is looking into possible antitrust action by automotive electronics suppliers.

“The antitrust division is investigating the possibility of anti-competitive cartel conduct,” said the department’s Gina Talamona, in a prepared statement. “We are coordinating with the European Commission and other foreign competition authorities.”   (more…)