DETROIT (Aug. 16, 3:40 p.m. ET) — A Yazaki Corp. department manager in Japan will join 10 other people and seven companies that have acknowledged their roles in a global automotive supplier price-fixing scheme in Detroit, the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust division announced Thursday.
Toshio Sudo will serve 14 months in prison and pay a $20,000 fine after agreeing to plead guilty to a charge of conspiracy to restrain trade in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. Sudo allegedly helped rig bids or set prices on instrument-panel clusters sold to Toyota Motor Corp. between January 2003 and February 2009.
As a condition of his plea, Sudo will cooperate with the ongoing prosecution.
“From using code names with one another to meeting in remote or private locations, the conspirators employed a variety of measures to keep their illegal conduct secret,” Scott Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general in the antitrust division's criminal enforcement program, said in a statement.
“The division and its law enforcement partners will continue to do everything in our power to detect these cartels and bring them to justice.”
Yazaki, which houses its Yazaki North America headquarters in Canton Township, was raided by Japan's Fair Trade Commission and by the FBI in the U.S. in February 2010. The company already has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $470 million in fines through 2017 — the second-largest criminal fine obtained for a Sherman Act antitrust violation.
Also entering guilty pleas to date are Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd., Denso Corp., G.S. Electech Inc., Fujikura Ltd. and Autoliv Inc. TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, a German unit of Livonia-based TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., reached a similar agreement with Justice but has yet to enter its plea in court.
All told, U.S. fines in the case total more than $790 million.
Additionally, seven executives of the companies — Junichi Funo, Hirotsugu Nagata, Tetsuya Ukai, Tsuneaki Hanamura, Ryoki Kawai, Shigeru Ogawa and Hisamitsu Takada — were sentenced to criminal fines and prison sentences ranging from a year and a day to two years.
Makoto Hattori and Norihiro Imai have pleaded guilty and await sentencing. Kazuhiko Kashimoto is scheduled to enter a plea Sept. 26.