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From Antitrust Law Daily, March 7, 2017

German auto parts maker agrees to $6.1M fine for rigging bids on latches

By Jeffrey May, J.D.

A new automotive part manufacturer has been caught up in the net cast by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division in its investigation of the industry. Germany-based auto parts maker Kiekert AG has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $6.1 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to rig bids for side-door latches and latch minimodules, the Department of Justice announced today. This is the first case involving these latches. The latches are among more than 50 automotive parts that have allegedly been impacted by anticompetitive conduct in the industry (U.S. v. Kiekert AG, Case: No. 2:17-cr-20139).

one-count information was filed against Kiekert in the federal district court in Detroit. According to the filing, Kiekert supplied the latch parts to Ford Motor Company for installation in its vehicles. Between September 2008 and May 2013, Kiekert allegedly agreed with competitors on bids and price quotations for side-door latches, which secure car doors to the body, and latch minimodules, which include the side-door latch and all related mechanical operating components, to be submitted to Ford.

Ongoing investigation. Under a plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Kiekert has pledged to cooperate with the Justice Department in its ongoing investigation. Including Kiekert, 48 companies and 65 executives have been charged in the investigation and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.9 billion in criminal fines, according to the Justice Department.

Companies: Kiekert AG; Ford Motor Co.

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