US: Justice Department indicts three Bridgestone executives image

The three men – a current and two former Bridgestone Inc. – are to be indicted by the Justice Department in regards to an international conspiracy that aimed to fix prices in the auto-parts sector – in this case the one concerning automotive anti-vibration rubber parts.

The three Bridgestone execs are Yoshiyuki Tanaka, Yasuo Ryuto and Isao Yoshida, which were charged by a grand jury in Cleveland because they conspired to eliminate competition by rigging bids, dividing among them sales, and fix, raise and maintain prices for anti-vibration rubber parts that were delivered to Toyota, Nissan, Suzuki and Subaru.

“Today’s indictment again demonstrates that antitrust violations are not just corporate offenses but also crimes by individuals,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General. “The division will continue to vigorously prosecute executives who circumvent the law in order to maximize profits by harming consumers.”

Bridgestone pleaded guilty in February and was fined a $425 million criminal charge for the company’s role in the price fixing conspiracy, while the three executives were charged according to a Sherman Act violation – carrying a maximum 10 years sentence in prison and $1 million criminal fine for each.