WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 12) — Zeon Chemicals L.P. has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $10.5 million criminal fine for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of nitrile rubber.
According to the one-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, Zeon Chemicals—a wholly owned subsidiary of Japan's Zeon Corp.—conspired from May 2002 through December 2002 with unnamed co-conspirators to suppress and eliminate competition in the market for NBR in the U.S. and elsewhere.
Under the plea agreement, which must be approved by the court, Zeon has agreed to assist the government in its ongoing investigation.
NBRùor acrylonitrile-butadiene rubberùis used to make hoses, belting, cable, o-rings, seals, adhesives, sealants, etc.
Zeon is the second company to plead guilty in the NBR investigation. Last October Bayer A.G. agreed to plead guilty to and pay a $4.7 million criminal fine.