Wednesday, September 25, 2013
DJ: Panasonic Executive Indicted In Auto-Parts Price-Fixing Case
A federal grand jury in Detroit has indicted Panasonic Corp. (6752) executive Shinichi Kotani for his alleged role in a scheme to fix the prices of auto parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and sold in the U.S., the Justice Department said Tuesday.
It is the latest case to come out of the Justice Department's campaign against price-fixing in the automotive industry.
"The Antitrust Division remains vigilant in its ongoing efforts to hold executives accountable when they engage in anticompetitive conduct that harms American consumers," said Scott D. Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division's criminal enforcement program.
Mr. Kotani, a Japanese national, and his alleged co-conspirators colluded between January 2004 and at least February 2010 to fix the prices of steering angle sensors and switches sold to Toyota. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a fine of $1 million.
The Osaka-based Panasonic and its Sanyo Electric unit in July agreed to plead guilty and pay a combined $56.5 million in fines for fixing the prices of auto parts and battery cells.
So far under the Justice Department's initiative, 14 executives have been sentenced to pay fines and serve jail terms, and another executive is scheduled to be sentenced this week. More than $874 million in criminal fines have been imposed, as well, the department said.