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Thursday, November 19, 2015

INOAC Corp. to Pay $2.35 Million for Fixing Prices on Auto Parts

INOAC Corp. has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $2.35 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids on certain plastic interior trim automotive parts installed in cars sold to U.S. consumers. 

According to the felony charge filed today in the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Kentucky, INOAC, based in Nagoya, Japan, and others conspired from as early as June 2004 until at least September 2012 to fix prices and rig bids on parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., including certain of its subsidiaries and affiliates in the United States and elsewhere. 

“INOAC corrupted the competitive process by agreeing with its competitors to fix the prices of certain automotive parts installed in Toyota cars sold in the United States,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division.  “Working with the FBI and our other law enforcement partners, the Antitrust Division will continue to protect American car buyers and hold automotive part suppliers accountable for their illegal conduct.”

“The FBI is committed to aggressively investigating individuals who engage in criminal conduct that corrupts the global marketplace,” said Special Agent in Charge Howard S. Marshall of the FBI’s Louisville Division.  “We will continue our work with the Department of Justice Antitrust Division to uncover schemes aimed at creating an unfair competitive advantage by way of price fixing, bid rigging or other illegal means.”

Today’s plea is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement sections and the FBI. 

Including INOAC, 38 companies and 58 executives have been charged in the division’s ongoing investigation and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.6 billion in criminal fines.  INOAC is being prosecuted by the Antitrust Division’s Chicago Office and the FBI’s Louisville Field Office, Covington Resident Agency, with assistance from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District of Kentucky. 

Anyone with information on market allocation, price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct related to other products in the automotive parts industry should contact the Antitrust Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html or call the FBI’s Louisville Field Office at 502- 263-6000.

Updated February 4, 2016