* Company is ninth to plead in ongoing DOJ probe
* Tokai Rika also pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice
* European Commission conducting parallel investigation
WASHINGTON, Oct 30 Japanese auto parts maker
Tokai Rika Co Ltd has agreed to plead guilty to
conspiring to fix the prices of auto heating components and to
pay a fine of $17.7 million, the U.S. Justice Department said on
The settlement is the latest in a wide-ranging investigation
into price fixing for a variety of car parts that has so far
ensnared nine companies.
Tokai Rika, whose customers include many major automotive
companies, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiring to raise
the prices of heater control panels, which control the
temperature inside the car, the department said.
It also pleaded guilty to an obstruction of justice charge
because a company executive ordered documents destroyed once the
company became aware of the probe.
Officials from Tokai Rika were not immediately available for
The Justice Department's Antitrust Division has also settled
with Autoliv, TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki
Col Ltd, Fujikura Ltd, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd
, Denso Corp, Yazaki Corp and G.S. Electech.
The European Commission has a parallel investigation.
So far, eleven people from various companies have also
agreed to plead guilty in connection with price-fixing of auto
US v Tokai Rika., U.S. District Court for the Eastern
District of Michigan. Case No. 12-20711.