In reference to a report by The U.S. Department of Justice, Japan’s Bridgestone Corp agreed to plead guilty and pay $425 million in criminal fines for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices on certain automotive parts.
This investigation has collected more than $2 billion in fines and 26 companies including Bridgestone have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty to price fixing.
Bridgestone manufactures and sells a variety of automotive parts, including anti-vibration rubber parts, which are made of rubber and metal. They are installed in suspension systems, engine mounts, and other parts of automobiles.
The purpose of installing anti-vibration rubber parts is to reduce road and engine vibration.
However, Bridgestone was involved in a conspiracy to allocate sales, to rig bids for and try to fix, raise and maintain the prices of automotive anti-vibration rubber parts.
The anti-vibration rubber parts were sold to Isuzu Motors Ltd, Toyota Motor Corp., Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Corp., and certain subsidiaries, affiliates and suppliers of theirs, in the United States and elsewhere.
Price-fixing cases related to auto parts ranging from seat belts to power window motors have been brought to the United States and elsewhere by law enforcement.
Twenty- six companies including Bridgestone have pleaded or agreed to plead guilty to price fixing or bid-rigging. However, in October 2011, Bridgestone pleaded guilty again for price-fixing and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations in the marine hose industry.
What Is Bridgestone Being Charged With?
Bridgestone is charged with price- fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries maximum penalties of $100 million criminal fine for corporations.
The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.