T.RAD Executive Agrees to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging and Price Fixing on Automobile Parts Installed in U.S. Cars
An executive of Japan-based T.RAD Co. Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty and to serve one year and one day in a U.S. prison for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of radiators installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.
A one-count felony charge was filed today in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in Detroit against Kosei Tamura, a general manager for T.RAD. According to the charge, Tamura, a Japanese national, conspired from as early as November 2002 until at least February 2010, by agreeing to allocate bids for, and prices of, radiators sold to Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and certain of its subsidiaries in the United States and elsewhere. In addition to the prison sentence, Tamura has agreed to pay a $20,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation. The plea agreement is subject to court approval.
“Companies and their executives should do their part to ensure American consumers are guaranteed a fair marketplace within the automotive industry,” said Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s criminal enforcement program. “The Antitrust Division will continue to hold accountable the companies and executives who ignore these laws in order to make this a reality.”
T.RAD is a manufacturer of radiators and was engaged in the sale of radiators in the United States and elsewhere. Radiators are devices located in the engine compartment of a vehicle that cool the engine.
In November 2013, T.RAD pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $13.75 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of radiators and automatic transmission fluid warmers.
Including today’s charges, 48 individuals have been charged in the department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the auto parts industry. Additionally, 32 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.4 billion in fines.
Tamura is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals. The maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.
The current prosecution arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry, which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal sections and the FBI. This case was brought by the Washington Criminal I Section of the Antitrust Division with the assistance of the Detroit Field Office of the FBI. Anyone with information concerning the focus of this investigation 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 Detroit Field Office of the FBI at 313-965-2323.