• Kyodo

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The U.S. Justice Department said Thursday that Japanese manufacturer NGK Insulators Ltd., which makes electricity insulators and automotive parts, has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $65.3 million (about ¥7.8 billion) fine for price fixing and rigging bids.

The department said NGK Insulators rigged prices for catalytic converter substrates that were provided for General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. as well as their affiliates in the United States and elsewhere from July 2000 to February 2010.

Executives and employees of the company based in Nagoya are also suspected of having obstructed justice by destroying and concealing evidence from February 2010 to July 2012 in connection with the case, the department said.

NGK Insulators is the world’s second-largest maker of ceramic substrates for car catalytic converters, according to the department.

The Japanese manufacturer is one of 36 companies to have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty as part of an investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry, the department said, adding the total amount in fines over the cartel allegations has topped $2.5 billion.

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