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Criminal complaints filed against road-paving firms for corruption in earthquake disaster areas

Kyodo

The Fair Trade Commission filed criminal complaints Monday against 10 road paving companies on suspicion of rigging bids for projects to repair expressways damaged by the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

The antitrust watchdog’s complaints also cover 11 individuals in charge of the firms. The special investigative unit of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office is set to bring charges against the companies and indict the 11 individuals without arrest.

The individuals handling sales and other operations at the 10 companies are accused of deciding in advance which firms would win contracts for 12 orders in bidding conducted by a local unit of East Nippon Expressway Co. from July to September 2011.

The total costs were estimated at ¥17.6 billion.

The firms include Nippo Corp., Maeda Road Construction Co. and Nippon Road Co., the industry’s three largest road paving companies.

The filing of the criminal complaints came after prosecutors and antitrust officials searched the companies’ head offices and local units in January.

Seikitokyu Kogyo Co. and one of its officials were the first to voluntarily report their involvement in the alleged bid rigging. They were excluded from the complaints.