Takata officials to plead guilty in U.S. price-fixing case -govt

WASHINGTON Thu Nov 21, 2013 12:50pm EST

WASHINGTON Nov 21 (Reuters) - Three executives of Japan's Takata Corp will plead guilty to conspiring to fix the price of seatbelts sold to automakers in the United States and will go to jail for 14 to 19 months, the Justice Department said on Thursday.

Takata settled with the Justice Department in October, agreeing to pay $71.3 million to settle antitrust charges.

The three executives worked with car makers such as Toyota Motor Corp and Subaru, which is owned by Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd, Honda Motor Co Ltd, Mazda Motor Corp and Nissan Motor Co Ltd, all of which purchased Takata seat belts.

One of the three executives, Yasuhiko Ueno, was a past employee of a Takata subsidiary in the United States, TK Holdings Inc, and will serve 19 months in prison, the department said.

The other two, Saboro Imamiya and Yoshinobu Fujino, currently work for Takata in Japan. Imamiya will serve 16 months in prison while Fujino will serve 19 months, the department said.

The Justice Department and antitrust enforcers worldwide have been probing price fixing of more than 30 car parts, including seatbelts, radiators, windshield wipers, air-conditioning systems, power window motors and power steering components.

Other companies which have purchased parts subject to price fixing have been Fiat SpA affiliate Chrysler Group LLC , Ford Motor Co, General Motors Co and Mitsubishi Motors Corp.

In some cases, the price-fixing lasted for a decade or longer. Parts company executives typically met face to face or talked by phone to reach collusive agreements, the Justice Department has said.

Among the auto parts companies that the Antitrust Division has settled with are Autoliv Inc, Tokai Rika Co Ltd , TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Co Ltd, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd and Fujikura Ltd .

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