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Massive auto parts price fixing probe spreads to four continents

Posted Dec 22nd 2011 11:00AM

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Investigators are currently expanding the scope of an automotive component price fixing probe. Officials in Australia, the U.S., Europe and Japan are collaborating to discern the breadth of the issue. So far, 20 automotive suppliers have been identified as being part of the investigation, though it's thought that authorities are looking into a significantly larger number of companies. In fact, a government official has already declared this investigation the largest such probe in U.S. history. Those that have been identified so far are publicly traded and must disclose such investigation to their shareholders by law. Private companies have no such obligation. According to Crain's Detroit Business, the companies in question supplied parts to both automakers and the aftermarket.

So far, only one company has been convicted of price fixing in the investigation. Furukawa Electric Company of Japan has been handed a fine of US$200 million and three U.S.-based executives are headed toward incarceration. Sentencing has yet to occur for those workers.

The report says the scandal spreads across automotive systems, and subpoenas have been handed down for raids against at least 19 suppliers over six supply sectors. Even so, those subpoenas may be aimed at securing evidence against a company's competitor, not the manufacturer itself.

News Source: Crain's Detroit Business

Image Credit: Christopher Furlong / Getty

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