Auto parts firm to pay $200M fine for price-fixing

September 29, 2011 - 10:15 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Tokyo-headquartered auto parts supplier has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $200 million fine in what the Justice Department said Thursday is an investigation of an international price-fixing and bid-rigging cartel .

As a result of the conspiracy involving Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. and three of its executives, "automobile manufacturers paid noncompetitive and higher prices for parts in cars sold to U.S. consumers," said Sharis Pozen, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's antitrust division.

The three executives at Furukawa who have agreed to plead guilty will serve prison time in the U.S ranging from a year and a day to 18 months, the Justice Department announced.

Furukawa supplies automotive wire harnesses and other products.

According to court papers filed in federal court in Detroit, the company and the three executives — Junichi Funo, Hirotsugu Nagata and Tetsuya Ukai — conspired to fix prices of automotive wire harnesses and related products sold to customers in the U.S. and elsewhere. The harnesses are electrical distribution systems that control electronic components, wiring and circuit boards.

The case is the first resulting from what the Justice Department said is an ongoing criminal investigation.