Crain News Service report
TOLEDO, Ohio (Jan. 12, 2015) — A former executive with Japan-based automotive supplier Toyoda Gosei Co. has agreed to plead guilty to a conspiracy charge and serve just over a year in prison for his role in fixing the price of automotive hoses sold to Toyota Motor Corp.
Makoto Horie, who once served as senior vice president of sales for Toyoda Gosei, pleaded guilty earlier this month to the single count of conspiracy filed in U.S. District Court in Toledo, the U.S. Justice Department said.
Under the plea agreement, Mr. Horie will serve one year and one day in prison and pay a $20,000 fine, the department's antitrust division said.
The plea agreement is notable because, in similar past cases, as many as 20 Japanese supplier executives have remained in Japan and avoided U.S. prosecution. So far, there have been no reports of the U.S. seeking to extradite those individuals.
The department said Mr. Horie and others conspired to fix the prices of some automotive hoses sold in the U.S. to Toyota Motor Corp. and some of its affiliates between March 2007 and September 2010.
Toyoda Gosei agreed last fall to plead guilty and pay a $26 million criminal fine for its role in price-fixing conspiracies also involving airbags and steering wheels. Toyoda Gosei's media relations office did not respond to a request seeking comment.
So far, 49 individuals and 32 companies have been charged in the government's ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. The companies and individuals have agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion in fines in what is now the largest antitrust investigation in U.S. history.
This report appeared on the website of Automotive News, a Detroit-based sister publication of Tire Business.