(MENAFN - AFP) The United States government said Thursday that nine Japanese auto-parts companies and two executives have pleaded guilty to price-fixing and will pay more than 740 million in fines.
The parties, in separate conspiracies, fixed the prices of more than 30 different products sold to US car manufacturers and installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice said.
Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. has agreed to pay a 195 million fine, the largest among the penalties under the plea agreements, which require court approval.
Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has the second-largest fine, at 190 million.
The other companies that pleaded guilty and will pay fines are Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Jtekt Corp., Mitsuba Corp., NSK Ltd., T.RAD Co. Ltd., Valeo Japan Co. Ltd. and Yamashita Rubber Co. Ltd.
The two executives are Tetsuya Kunida, a Japanese citizen and former executive of a US subsidiary of a Japan-based automotive anti-vibration rubber products supplier, and Gary Walker, a US citizen and former executive of a US subsidiary of a Japan-based automotive products supplier.
The former employers of the two executives were not identified by the Justice Department.
The announcement was the latest crackdown in the Justice Department's long-running investigation of price-fixing and bid rigging in the US auto industry.
Each of the companies and executives has agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation, the department said.
"These international price-fixing conspiracies affected more than 5 billion in automobile parts sold to US car manufacturers, and more than 25 million cars purchased by American consumers were affected by the illegal conduct," said Attorney General Eric Holder.
The department said the cases involved parts sold to Chrysler, Ford and General Motors, and the US subsidiaries of Honda, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Subaru.