US Justice Department takes action in two auto parts price-fixing cases image

The US Government arm announced yesterday that three executives of Japan’s Takata Corp will plead guilty to conspiring to fix the price of seatbelts sold to automakers in the United States and will go to jail for 14 to 19 months.

Takata settled with the Justice Department in October, agreeing to pay $71.3 million to settle antitrust charges. Separately, the government indicted two executives from another Japanese company on charges that they conspired to fix the prices of rubber parts sold to Toyota.

The three Takata executives in the seatbelt case worked with car makers such as Toyota and Subaru, which is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, Honda, Mazda and Nissan, all of which purchased Takata seat belts.

One of the three executives, Yasuhiko Ueno, had worked for a Takata subsidiary in the United States, TK Holdings Inc, and will serve 19 months in prison, the department said. The other two, Saboro Imamiya and Yoshinobu Fujino, currently work for Takata in Japan. Imamiya will serve 16 months in prison while Fujino will serve 19 months, the department added.

In the second case, the Justice Department indicted Japanese nationals Masao Hayashi and Kenya Nonoyama on price-fixing charges involving anti-vibration rubber parts like engine mounts.

The department declined to name the company that Hayashi and Nonoyama worked for, saying only that an Osaka-based company employed them, with subsidiaries in Franklin, Kentucky and White, Georgia. Toyo Tire & Rubber Co Ltd is based in Osaka and lists operations in both U.S. cities on its website. Masao Hayashi is named as president of Toyo Automotive Parts (USA) in a 2010 news release.

Via Reuters