Railway agency officials face bid rigging charges

Kyodo

Prosecutors plan to build a case against senior officials of a government-backed railway construction agency over alleged bid rigging in connection with projects for the Hokuriku bullet train line, sources said Tuesday.

Officials of the Japan Railway Construction, Transport and Technology Agency are suspected of leaking scheduled prices for snow-melting equipment to prospective bidders in 13 competitive bids between March 2011 and November 2012.

Also Tuesday, the Fair Trade Commission filed a criminal complaint with the head of the Supreme Public Prosecutor’s Office against eight engineering companies and eight people in charge at the firms on suspicion of anti-monopoly law violations.

The eight companies, including Takasago Thermal Engineering Co. and Shin Nippon Air Technologies Co., took part in the bids for projects between 2011 and 2012.

The special investigative arm of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office alleges that the officials violated a law forbidding public servants from engaging in bid rigging, according to the sources. The agency is partly owned by the state.

The eight engineering firms are suspected of determining the successful bidders and bidding prices among themselves.