HOUSTON (Dec. 12, 2008)—A former executive of Bridgestone Corp. in Japan has pleaded guilty to two felony counts in an ongoing case involving an alleged price-fixing conspiracy in the rubber marine hose industry.
Misao Hioki, former general manager of Bridgestone's International Engineered Products Department, pleaded guilty in Houston federal court to one count of participating in the conspiracy to fix prices, rig bids and allocate market share. He also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by bribing overseas officials.
Hioki is the ninth marine hose executive so far to plead guilty to the price-fixing charges, but only the first to plead guilty to the FCPA violation, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement. He was sentenced to two years in prison and an $80,000 fine, and he also agreed to cooperate fully in the Justice Department's ongoing investigations.