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Fujikura execs indicted in price-fixing scheme

Keywords: Tags  Fujikura, Ryoji Fukudome, Toshihiko Nagashima, price fixing, auto parts, U.S. Justice Department, Fuji Heavy Industries, Subaru Scott Hammond

CHICAGO — A federal grand jury has indicted two Fujikura Ltd. executives for their alleged role in an international auto parts price-fixing conspiracy, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The indictment, filed in U.S. District Court in eastern Michigan, charges Ryoji Fukudome and Toshihiko Nagashima with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of copper-intensive wire harnesses sold to Tokyo-based Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.’s Subaru vehicle line for installation in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere.

Fukudome, who was general manager of Fujikura’s automotive marketing, and Nagashima, who managed the company’s wire harness center in Ohta, Japan, and later global marketing, face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and $1-million criminal fines.

Wire harnesses distribute electricity to a vehicle’s electronic components, wiring and circuit boards.

Fujikura pleaded guilty to its role in the conspiracy in June 2012 and was sentenced to pay a $20-million criminal fine (, April 24, 2012).

This indictment alleges that for at least five years, Fukudome, Nagashima and co-conspirators colluded during meetings in Japan to rig their bids to Subaru and allocate the supply of wire harnesses sold to Subaru. They continued to communicate in order to monitor and enforce the collusive agreements.

"The Antitrust Division is working closely with competition enforcers abroad to ensure that there are no safe harbors for executives who engage in international cartel crimes," Scott D. Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program, said.

"Price fixing, bid rigging and other fraudulent schemes harm the automotive industry by driving up costs for vehicle makers and buyers," John R. Shoup, acting special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division, said. The bureau has conducted a criminal investigation of price fixing by auto suppliers for nearly two years.

Including Fukudome and Nagashima, 11 companies and 18 executives have been charged in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into the automotive parts industry. To date, more than $874 million in criminal fines have been imposed and 14 individuals have been sentenced to pay criminal fines and serve prison sentences.

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