January 22, 2015 / 7:55 PM / 4 years ago

Japanese executive indicted in U.S. for auto parts price fixing

A Logo of Takata Corp is seen outside the company's headquarters in Tokyo April 12, 2013. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An executive with the Japanese auto parts maker Takata Corp 7312.T was indicted on Thursday for conspiring to fix the prices of seat belts sold to carmakers, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The indictment is the latest in a global probe of price fixing of auto parts. A total of 32 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so and 50 executives have taken a plea bargain or been indicted in the investigation.

Hiromu Usuda, a sales executive for Takata from 2005 to 2011, is accused of meeting with executives of other companies that make seat belts to reach agreements on what they would charge, the department said.

The affected automakers were Toyota Motor Corp (7203.T), Honda Motor Co Ltd (7267.T), Nissan Motor Co (7201.T), Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd (7270.T), which makes Subaru cars, the department said.

Efforts to reach Usuda for comment through Takata were unsuccessful.

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

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Alan Crosby

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