Japanese auto parts exec pleads guilty to price fixing as U.S. probe expands
TOLEDO, Ohio -- A Japanese auto parts executive working in Ohio has pleaded guilty to price-fixing in U.S. District Court here as the U.S. Justice Department's bid-rigging probe spreads to anti-vibration rubber parts.
Hiroshi Yoshida pleaded guilty to one felony count of violating the Sherman Act. As part of a plea agreement, he will pay a $20,000 fine and serve 12 months and one day in a U.S. prison, the Justice Department said.
Yoshida is identified in court papers only as a "management level employee" in the sales department of a Japanese auto parts supplier's Ohio-based subsidiary.
Court documents indicate that Yoshida worked in Washington Court House, Ohio, and that the unnamed Japanese supplier is headquartered in Saitama, Japan.
Court documents indicate that Yoshida, his employer and others at the company conspired with a second unnamed parts supplier in Japan and the United States to rig their bids for anti-vibration rubber auto parts, going back to 2005.
The Justice Department indicated that Yoshida is the first executive to be charged with bid-rigging of anti-vibration rubber parts.
Including Yoshida, nine corporations and 12 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty to violations of the Sherman Act under the Justice Department's auto parts price-fixing probe.