DETROIT – Another Japanese auto parts supplier pleaded guilty Tuesday in a far-reaching U.S. probe into price-fixing in the auto industry, which has now snared nine companies on three continents.
Nagoya-based Tokai Rika Co. agreed to plead guilty and pay a $17.7 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of heater control panels, the Department of Justice said in a statement.
Tokai Rika also agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of justice related to the investigation.
According to a two-count felony charge filed in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Tokai Rika took part in meetings to rig bids for, and to fix the prices of, heater control panels sold to Toyota in the U.S. and elsewhere. The conspiracy lasted from 2003 to 2010.
“The conspirators used code names and chose meeting places and times to avoid detection,” said Scott Hammond, Justice Department deputy assistant attorney general.