By Larry P. Vellequette, Crain News Service
DETROIT (Dec. 4, 2014) — Two Japanese executives from different Japanese suppliers each have agreed to plead guilty to a charge of conspiring to fix the prices of auto parts sold to Honda Motor Co., the U.S. Department of Justice announced.
Kosei Tamura, a general manager for T.RAD Co., agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy that he helped fix prices of radiators sold to Honda between November 2002 and February 2010, the government said. Under the agreement, Mr. Tamura, a Japanese national, will pay a $20,000 fine and serve one year and one day in a U.S. prison. The charge against Tamura was filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
In November 2013, T.RAD pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $13.75 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of radiators and automatic transmission fluid warmers.
Also, Kazumi Umahashi, a former general manager for Mitsuba Corp., agreed to plead guilty to a charge that he conspired to fix the prices of windshield wiper systems and starter motors sold to Honda between June 2005 and December 2009.
Mr. Umahashi agreed to pay a $20,000 fine and serve 13 months in prison as part of the plea agreement, the department said. As with Mr. Tamura, the charge against Mr. Umahashi was filed in U.S. District Court in Detroit.
On Nov. 6, 2013, Mitsuba pleaded guilty for its involvement in the conspiracy and agreed to pay $135 million in criminal fines.
Including Messrs. Tamura and Umahashi, 48 individuals have been charged in the Justice Department's ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. It is the largest antitrust investigation in U.S. history. In addition, 32 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion in fines.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.