The US Department of Justice continues its long running investigation across the automotive industry that searched for monopoly practices and price fixing violations.
This time around it was time for a former executive that worked for auto parts producer Hitachi Automotive Systems to acknowledge his wrongdoings, with the person pleading guilty and receiving a 15 months prison punishment because he conspired to rig the prices of certain auto parts that were delivered in the United States. The US District Court in Detroit said Thursday that Takashi Toyokuni, a former manager and director that oversaw alternators and starters at Hitachi, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to serve time in prison. The US Department of Justice added that as part of his plea he also paid a fine of $20,000.
Toyokuni’s indictment was pronounced on September 18, 2014, by a federal grand jury in Detroit for one count of conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices on a number of components sold by the supplier between 2000 and 2010. The automakers that suffered from the law violations were Ford, GM, Nissan, Toyota and Honda – as well as some subsidiaries. Hitachi Automotive Systems itself pleaded guilty on the same charges back in November 2013 and was charged with $195 million. The probe was part of the massive auto parts price-fixing investigation, first opened back in 2010 and counted as the biggest and most comprehensive price-fixing probe in the US ever. The ongoing investigation has found so far 52 persons to be guilty of market allocation, price fixing and bid rigging and a total of 34 companies so far cut deals and levied more than $2.4 billion in fines.
Via Automotive News