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From Antitrust Law Daily, January 6, 2015

Former auto parts exec named in Antitrust Division’s first criminal filing of 2015

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division kicked off 2015 with a new charge in its ongoing investigation of cartel conduct in the automotive parts industry. Makoto Horie, a Japanese national and former executive an automotive parts manufacturer Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd., has agreed to plead guilty to a one-count felony charge that he conspired to fix prices and rig bids of automotive hoses installed in cars sold in the United States. Horie is the 49th individual charged in the auto parts industry probe (U.S. v. Horie, Case 3:15-cr-00003-JGC).

Under a plea agreement, Horie would serve one year and one day in a U.S. prison and would pay a $20,000 fine for his role in the conspiracy, the Justice Department announced today. The defendant also would be required to cooperate with the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation. The plea agreement is subject to the approval of the federal district court in Toledo.

According to the Justice Department, Horie was employed in Troy, Michigan by Toyoda Gosei North America, a subsidiary of Toyoda Gosei, as Vice President of Sales between March 2007 and December 2007, and as Senior Vice President of Sales between January 2008 and January 2010. He also was employed in Japan by Toyoda Gosei as a sales general manager between February 2010 and September 2010. He allegedly participated in the conspiracy from approximately March 2007 until September 2010.

Toyoda Gosei has already pleaded guilty for its role in this conspiracy and another conspiracy involving automotive airbags and steering wheels. A two-count felony charge was filed in the federal district court in Toledo in September. Last month, a criminal judgment was entered, fining the company $26 million.

“The charge today once again demonstrates the Antitrust Division’s vigorous commitment to holding individuals accountable for engaging in anticompetitive conduct,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program, in a statement announcing the case. “The division’s ongoing investigation has resulted in more than two dozen executives serving prison time for their participation in illegal conspiracies involving auto parts.”

Companies: Toyoda Gosei Co. Ltd.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust AntitrustDivisionNews

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