Former Japanese auto parts executive sentenced in U.S. for price-fixing

WASHINGTON, July 31 Thu Jul 31, 2014 2:13pm EDT

WASHINGTON, July 31 (Reuters) - A former executive of Japanese auto parts maker G.S. Electech Inc pleaded guilty on Thursday to conspiring to fix the prices of parts used on anti-lock brakes and was sentenced to 13 months in a U.S. prison, the Justice Department said.

Singo Okuda, a former manager of the company's Engineering and Sales Division, also agreed to pay a $20,000 fine for conspiring to fix the bids for parts for Toyota Motor Corp .

A total of 36 people have been charged in a broad U.S. investigation of price-fixing of more than 30 auto parts, ranging from radiators to windshield wipers and air-conditioning systems. Privately held G.S. Electech, which manufactures, assembles and sells a variety of automotive electrical parts, is one of 27 companies that have settled with the U.S. Justice Department.

Okuda's guilty plea came in Kentucky, where Toyota has a large assembly plant. When he was indicted, he was accused of being part of the conspiracy from January 2003 to at least February 2010.

Among companies the Justice Department's Antitrust Division has settled with are Autoliv, Tokai Rika Co Ltd , TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Col Ltd, Fujikura Ltd, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd and Yazaki Corp. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Dan Grebler)