DETROIT (Reuters) - A federal grand jury in Detroit on Thursday indicted seven executives from two Japanese auto parts makers on charges of price fixing, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
Four executives from Mitsubishi Electric Corp (6503.T) were charged with conspiring to fix prices of auto parts including starter motors, alternators and ignition coils that were sold to six auto manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere.
Three executives from Hitachi Automotive Systems, a part of Hitachi Ltd (6501.T), were also charged with conspiring to fix prices of auto parts sold to five automakers.
Representatives of the companies could not immediately be reached for comment.
A Department of Justice statement said the executives are charged with taking part in a conspiracy from as early as January 2000 to about February 2010.
“Among other things, the executives and their subordinates, according to the indictment, participated in meetings with co-conspirators and reached collusive agreements to rig bids, allocate the supply and fix the prices of certain automotive parts sold to automobile manufacturers,” the statement said.
Two of the Mitsubishi executives were also charged with obstruction of justice by destroying documents and persuading, and attempting to persuade others to destroy documents, the Justice Department said.
And one of the Mitsubishi executives was charged also with trying to convince others to destroy evidence including deleting electronic data.
The Justice Department said that including the seven executives indicted on Thursday, 43 people have been charged in an investigation into price-fixing and bid-rigging in the auto parts industry.
Of those, 26 have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from a year and one day to two years. Additionally, 28 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.4 billion in fines, the Justice Department said.
Reporting by Bernie Woodall; Editing by Grant McCool