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US: Three Japanese auto parts executives indicted for bid-rigging

 |  October 8, 2015

Two former executives of Nishikawa Rubber and one current executive from the company were indicted on Thursday for allegedly conspiring to fix the prices of weather-stripping and rubber seals for cars made in the United States.

The US Justice Department identified the three executives as Keiji Kyomoto, Mikio Katsumaru and Yuji Kuroda, all of Japan. They were associated with Nishikawa Rubber Co, according to profiles of company executives.

The Justice Department, and antitrust enforcers around the world, have had a long-running investigation into price-fixing of auto parts. Thirty-seven companies have pleaded guilty as part of the probe, and 58 executives have been charged.

The conspiracy affecting automotive sealing products, which ran from September 2003 to October 2011, affected products sold to Honda Motor Company Ltd and Toyota Motor Corp and their US affiliates, the Justice Department said in a statement.

In addition to the price-fixing allegations, Katsumaru and Kuroda encouraged company employees to destroy evidence in order to hide the probe, according to the department.

“These executives conspired for years with their competitors to fix the prices of body sealing products sold to Honda and Toyota and installed in US cars,” Brent Snyder, of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, said in a statement. “The Antitrust Division will continue to vigorously prosecute executives who orchestrate their companies’ efforts to break the law.”

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