Wednesday, September 16, 2015

KYB Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $62 Million Criminal Fine for Price Fixing

According to The Department of Justice, Kayaba Industry Co. Ltd., dba KYB Corporation has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $62 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the price of shock absorbers installed in cars and motorcycles sold to U.S. consumers. 

According to charges filed, KYB conspired from the mid-1990s until 2012 to fix the prices of shock absorbers sold to Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. (manufacturer of Subaru vehicles), Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Kawasaki Heavy Industries Ltd., Nissan Motor Company Ltd., Suzuki Motor Corporation and Toyota Motor Company, including their subsidiaries in the United States. 

“KYB turned the competitive process on its head by agreeing with its competitors to fix the prices of shock absorbers installed in cars and motorcycles sold in the U.S.,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer 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.”

“Fixing prices and rigging bids is against the law and ultimately harms consumers by artificially inflating prices and creating a corrupt marketplace,” said Special Agent in Charge Angela L. Byers of the FBI’s Cincinnati Division.  “The FBI and our partners will continue to investigate anticompetitive practices and promote fair competition.”

According to the information filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, KYB, based in Tokyo, and its two co-conspirators agreed to allocate the supply of shock absorbers sold and determine the price submitted to the targeted vehicle manufacturers.  To keep prices up, KYB and its co-conspirators also agreed to coordinate on price adjustments requested by the vehicle manufacturers and strived to keep their conduct secret. 

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