Guilty: Bridgestone to pay $28M fine in bid-rigging case image

Japanese rubber products giant Bridgestone will pay a fine of $28 million for rigging bids in the United States and bribing Latin American officials, US authorities announced on Thursday.

Acting Assistant Attorney General Sharis A. Pozen, who heads theJustice Departments Antitrust Division, said a two-count criminal information – filed in U.S. District Court in Houston – charged the Tokyo-headquartered firm with conspiring to violate the Sherman Act and the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

“The cartel affected prices for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of marine hose and related products sold worldwide,” it said.

Bridgestone conspired with other companies to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares in the U.S. and elsewhere, the department said. It also said the company conspired to pay bribes to officials in Latin America to win business.

Meanwhile, the department said it agreed to recommend a “substantially reduced fine” for Bridgestone in recognition of its cooperation with the investigations and implementation of “extensive remediation.”

The company will book the fine as a special loss in the quarter through September. A spokesman for the company said the payment will not have a major impact on the firm’s earnings for the year through December.

Bridgestone is the fifth company to be charged in the US Department of Justice’s investigation into marine hose bid-rigging, which dates back several years.