A PYMNTS Company

US: Former supplier executive to serve 18 months for price-fixing

 |  April 21, 2016

A former high-ranking executive with Japanese supplier Nishikawa Rubber Co. has pleaded guilty and will serve 18 months in a US prison for his role in fixing the prices of automotive body sealing products, the US Department of Justice said Wednesday.

Keiji Kyomoto was indicted in October with two other executives at the Hiroshima supplier, accused of rigging bids for weather stripping and rubber seals sold to Toyota Motor and Honda Motor.

Kyomoto’s plea in US District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky on Wednesday makes him the highest-ranking auto supplier executive snared in the government’s ongoing investigation into widespread price-fixing in the automotive supplier industry. In addition to the prison term, Kyomoto agreed to pay a $20,000 fine as part of his guilty plea to the single charge of price fixing, the US Justice Department said in a release.

Nishikawa was not named in the October indictment or Wednesday’s plea agreement in the Justice Department release. When Kyomoto was indicted in October, however, he was listed on Nishikawa’s website as a director on the company’s board. He was also listed as president of a Delaware-based joint venture with the Japanese company, which manufactured and sold sealing products with offices in Novi and Topeka, Ind.

The indictment is the latest development in an ongoing industrywide federal investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging. The investigation, led by the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division and the FBI, has led to charges against 58 people and 38 companies and about $2.6 billion in fines, the government said in Wednesday’s statement. Similar investigations have been ongoing in Europe and Asia.

Full Content: ABC News

Want more news? Subscribe to CPI’s free daily newsletter for more headlines and updates on antitrust developments around the world.