Since the Justice Department's auto parts bid-rigging investigation began in 2010, a total of 65 individuals and 47 companies have been charged.
DETROIT -- A federal grand jury has indicted two Japanese executives on charges of conspiring to obstruct justice in a major escalation of the Department of Justice’s ongoing price fixing investigation within the auto parts industry.
The two executives, Futoshi Higashida and Mikio Katsumaru, were charged with one count each of conspiring to obstruct a federal investigation in the indictment, filed today in U.S. District Court in Detroit. In addition, Higashida was also charged with one count of attempted obstruction of justice, the Justice Department said today.
Katsumaru is a retired executive with Nishikawa Rubber Co., and was previously indicted on bid-rigging charges in October 2015. Higashida was president of Nishikawa Cooper LLC, a joint venture between Nishikawa and Cooper Standard that sells automotive sealing products. Katumaru’s previous case remains open, according to court records.
The indictments allege that the two men, along with unnamed co-conspirators, “conspired from at least as early as June 2008 until at least September 2012 to delete emails and electronic records and to destroy documents referring to communications with competitors.”
The indictment also alleges that Higashida instructed a third individual in Sept. 2012 to “ensure that no phone numbers or call records remained on his cellular telephone and that no data remained on his computer that would reflect competitor communications.”
Since the department’s auto parts bid-rigging investigation began in 2010, a total of 65 individuals and 47 companies have been charged. The ongoing investigation is the largest anti-trust investigation in U.S. history. Similar investigations have been ongoing in Asia and Europe.