Sun, Feb 02, 2014 - Page 6 News List

US to jail Japanese auto bosses over price-fixing

BID-RIGGING:Shigehiko Ikenaga and his brother Tatsuo pleaded guilty to participating in a ‘global conspiracy’ to fix prices of ignition coils for US cars

AFP, WASHINGTON

Two former top executives of Japanese auto parts supplier Diamond Electric will be imprisoned for more than a year in the US for price fixing, the US Justice Department said on Friday.

Shigehiko Ikenaga and Tatsuo Ikenaga, respectively the former president and vice president of the Osaka-based company, agreed to plead guilty to participating in a “global conspiracy” to fix prices of ignition coils installed in cars for the US market, the justice department said.

The conspiracy, spanning at least from 2003 to 2010, saw various manufacturers rigging bids and fixing prices for ignition coils sold to Ford, Toyota and Subaru.

Felony charges were filed in the US District Court in Detroit against the two on Friday as part of the plea agreement.

JAIL TIME

Shigehiko Ikenaga will serve 16 months in prison while his brother Tatsuo will serve 13 months. Both agreed to pay criminal fines of US$5,000 each.

The two executives are the sons of company founder Shigeji Ikenaga, who died in 2012.

Diamond Electric itself pleaded guilty to charges in the price-fixing probe in September last year, and was fined US$19 million.

The charges and sentences are part of a long-term, wide-ranging probe into price fixing by mainly Japanese auto parts makers that has led to charges against 24 companies and 28 individuals.

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