CINCINNATI—Two Japanese auto parts firms, their U.S. subsidiaries and five executives have been named in two separate indictments, accusing them of fixing prices and rigging bids.
Both indictments were filed with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio in Cincinnati June 15.
The first indictment accuses Tokai Kogyo Co. Ltd., its wholly owned subsidiary Green Tokai Co. Ltd. and executive Akitada Tazumi of conspiring to rig bids and fix prices for automotive sealing products sold to Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice said in a June 15 press release.
The sealing products included body-side opening seals, door-side weather stripping, glass-run channels, trunk lids and various smaller seals, the Antitrust Division said.
The second indictment involves allegations against Maruyasu Industries Co. Ltd., its wholly owned subsidiary Curtis-Maruyasu America Inc. (CMA), and four executives—Tadeo Hirade, Satoru Murai, Kasunori Kobayashi and Yoshihiro Shigematsu.
According to the Antitrust Division, Maruyasu, CMA and the named executives conspired to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids for automotive steel tubes sold in the U.S. and elsewhere.
The tubes are used for fuel distribution, braking and other automotive systems, the Antitrust Division said.
According to the agency, Tokai Kogyo and its executives participated in meetings and conversations with its co-conspirators to allocate sales of automotive sealing products beginning as early as March 2008 at least until August 2011.
The indictment against Maruyasu and its executives states that they had similar meetings and conversations, and ordered subordinates to participate. This began as early as December 2003 and continued at least until July 9, 2011, according to the Antitrust Division.
Tokai Kogyo and Maruyasu are the first companies to face straight indictments in the Antitrust Division's ongoing price fixing investigation, according to the agency. All previous court filings were settlement agreements, it said.
“These defendants, as is their right, have chosen to put the government to its burden of proof, and we accept the challenge without hesitation,” said Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general with the Antitrust Division.
To date, 64 individuals and 44 companies have agreed to pay more than $2.7 billion in fines and cooperate with the ongoing investigation, the Antitrust Division said.