WASHINGTON -- Toray Industries Inc., a Japanese company, and its U.S. subsidiary, Toray Composites (America) Inc., have agreed to pay the United States $15.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that they conspired to fix prices on carbon fiber, a graphite substance used in aircraft, ammunition and satellites procured by the United States, the Justice Department announced today.
A lawsuit, filed against the companies, alleged that, beginning at least as early as 1993 and continuing at least until 2001, Toray and its co-conspirators agreed on prices that would be charged for carbon fiber that was ultimately used in products procured by the U.S. government from other companies. Carbon fiber composites are valuable because they are lightweight yet strong.
"Today?s settlement should send a message to those who deal with the government, both directly and indirectly, that prices charged for products sold to the United States must be competitive," said Gregory G. Katsas, acting Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Civil Division.
The lawsuit was originally filed on behalf of the United States by Randall Beck, Gary Beck, Tod Boretto and Kevin McLean, who, through their employer Horizon Sports Technologies Inc., had dealings with the co-conspirators. Their lawsuit was filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which permits private citizens, known as "relators," to sue on behalf of the government to recover federal funds that were obtained by false or fraudulent claims, and to receive a share of any settlement or judgment. As a result of today?s settlement, the relators will receive $4 million from the settlement with Toray.
This is the fifth and final settlement in this matter. The total recovery, including the current settlement, is $61.75 million.