A federal grand jury has indicted Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. of Tokyo, subsidiary Toho Carbon Fibers Inc. of Menlo Park, Calif., and Toho Tenax executive Jinnosuke Takeda for obstruction of justice.
The one-count felony indictment alleges incriminating data was moved secretly to Tokyo from the Menlo Park site to keep subpoenaed documents from the grand jury's ongoing investigation of the carbon-fiber and preimpregnated-materials industries. Subsequently, Japanese agents found the documents in a Tokyo search.
Filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles, the March 19 indictment is the first in a major federal probe that began in January 1999 and could foretell possible price-fixing allegations.
Maximum penalty for obstruction of justice is $500,000 for a corporation, and 10 years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for individuals.
Toho Tenax, known as Toho Rayon Co. Ltd. until a July name change, is the world's second-largest maker of carbon fiber. The unit handles U.S. distribution.