CHICAGO Japans Furukawa Electric Co. Ltd. has been fined Canadian $5 million ($4.9 million) by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for its alleged participation in an international bid-rigging conspiracy.
The fine, which followed a probe by Canadas Competition Bureau, is the largest ever imposed by a Canadian court for a bid-rigging offense.
The Competition Bureau said evidence showed that the supplier of copper-based wire harness assemblies and other electronic parts for motor vehicles conspired with other Japanese components makers to submit bids in response to requests for quotes to supply Honda of Canada Manufacturing Inc.
The Canadian investigation mirrored probes under way by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Justice Departments Antitrust division, as well as antitrust investigations in Japan and Europe that have found conspiracies to rig bids and contracts to supply many types of automotive parts sold to automakers globally, but especially to Japanese, U.S. and European brands.
"This criminal activity defrauded the automobile sector in Canada and the substantial fine demonstrates the seriousness of such an offense," John Pecman, interim competition commissioner, said.
The Competition Bureau said it became aware of the cartel by way of its immunity program. Its continuing investigation into the motor vehicle components industry, its largest to date in terms of bid-rigging, is being coordinated with a number of other jurisdictions, including the United States, Japan, the European Community and Australia.
In the United States, nine companies and 12 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty in the Justice Departments ongoing investigation (amm.com, Nov. 19), with assessed criminal fines totaling more than $790 million.