DETROIT (Jan. 30, 2:50 p.m. ET) — Denso Corp. and Yazaki Corp., two of Japan's largest auto-parts suppliers, have agreed to plead guilty in a widening multicontinent bid-rigging case, the U.S. Department of Justice said today.
Yazaki and Denso will pay a combined total of $548 million in criminal fines as part of a plea agreement, the department said in a statement. Four of Yazaki's Japanese executives also have agreed to plead guilty and serve prison time in the United States.
Denso was charged with conspiring to charge higher prices on heating-control panels and electronic control units. The Yazaki charges involved wire harnesses and related products.
Yazaki will pay a $470 million fine — the second-largest criminal fine ever for a Sherman Act antitrust violation, according to the Justice Department. Denso will pay $78 million.
The four Yazaki executives were identified as Tsuneaki Hanamura, Ryoji Kawai, Shigeru Ogawa and Hisamitsu Takada. They have agreed to serve prison time ranging from 15 months to two years.
The two-year sentences would be the longest term of imprisonment imposed on a foreign national voluntarily submitting to U.S. jurisdiction for a Sherman Act antitrust violation, the Justice Department said. The fine amounts and prison sentences are subject to court approval.