One year of prison for Denso Corp. executive image

An executive at Japanese auto parts supplier Denso Corp. will serve one year and one day in prison and pay a $20,000 criminal fine for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for heater control panels installed in cars.

According to the Justice Department statement, Imai and his co-conspirators agreed to coordinate bids submitted to, and price adjustments requested by, automobile manufacturers.

Norihiro Imai is one of eight individuals and three companies charged in the government’s investigation of the auto parts industry. Yazaki Corp., Furukawa Electric Co. and Denso have all pleaded guilty to the charges and were ordered to pay a combined $748 million in fines.

“Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the antitrust division’s commitment to hold executives accountable for engaging in illegal conduct that leads to higher prices for American businesses and consumers,” said acting assistant attorney general Sharis Pozen, who is in charge of the Justice Department’s antitrust division.

Four Yazaki executives were charged in January and have agreed to plead guilty for similar allegations. Three Furukawa executives pleaded guilty in November and were sentenced to jail time ranging from a year and a day to 18 months.