WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - A former executive for Bridgestone Corp (5108.T), Japan’s largest tire maker, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to two years in prison on Monday for bribery and bid rigging in the marine hose industry, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.
Misao Hioki, who also was fined $80,000, entered the guilty plea in a U.S. district court in Houston, Texas. He is the ninth person to plead guilty in the Justice Department’s marine hose bid-rigging probe.
Hioki was part of discussions between January 2004 and May 2007 to divide up the marine hose market in order to push up the price of the hoses, which are used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities, the department said.
He also was charged with paying off government officials in Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico and Venezuela to win business — a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
“Prosecuting international cartels (price-fixers) that harm United States consumers remains the number one priority of the Antitrust Division,” said Deborah Garza, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s Antitrust Division. (Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Carol Bishopric)