WASHINGTON (Sept. 15, 2011—Bridgestone Corp. will plead guilty to conspiracy and bribery charges in a plea agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division in a case involving an alleged conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices in the international rubber marine hose business.
Bridgestone has agreed to pay $28 million in fines for its role in conspiracies to rig bids and bribe Latin American government officials, according to press releases from the company and the Justice Department.
The plea agreement is contingent on the approval of the U.S. District Court in Houston. The Justice Department filed the agreement with the Houston court today.
According to the agency, Bridgestone was involved in the marine hose conspiracy from January 1999 until May 2, 2007. That was the day Misao Hioki, then-general manager of Bridgestone's International Engineered Products Department, was arrested, along with seven other foreign executives of marine hose manufacturing firms.
Hioki pleaded guilty to two felony counts before the Houston court in December 2008. He was sentenced to two years in prison and an $80,000 fine.
Bridgestone announced in February 2008 that it would leave the marine hose business. In January 2009, it paid the European Commission at $77.2 million fine in the EC's marine hose price fixing case.