Thirteenth guilty plea concludes auto parts bid-rigging investigations with fines totalling over $86 million
October 19, 2018 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
Japanese car parts manufacturer INOAC Corporation was ordered to pay $1.3 million for its role in an international bid-rigging conspiracy, after pleading guilty today before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
A Competition Bureau investigation determined that INOAC entered into illegal agreements with a competing Japanese parts manufacturer. The companies conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by Toyota in 2004 for the supply of plastic interior car parts. The parts were used in Toyota Corollas manufactured and sold in Canada between 2008 and 2014.
Today’s guilty plea concludes the Bureau’s investigation of a series of international bid-rigging conspiracies among car parts suppliers. The investigations led to 13 guilty pleas and fines totalling more than $86 million, including three of the largest bid-rigging fines ever imposed by the courts in Canada: $30 million (Yazaki Corporation), $13.4 million (Mitsubishi Electric) and $13 million (Showa Corporation).
“The record-setting fines that resulted from our investigations send a clear message to the global marketplace: if you do business in Canada, you must comply with the law. Cracking down on bid-rigging and other anti-competitive schemes remains a top priority for the Bureau.”
Interim Commissioner of Competition
INOAC pleaded guilty under the Criminal Code to one count of conspiracy to engage in bid-rigging.
INOAC was ordered to pay a fine of $1.13 million and a victim surcharge of $169,500.
The auto parts investigations benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Bureau’s Leniency Program, in which INOAC participated. INOAC also implemented a corporate compliance program to prevent further anticompetitive conduct.
The Bureau first began investigating in 2009 after it learned of illegal activity in the auto parts industry through its Immunity Program, which provides immunity from prosecution to the first party to disclose an offence or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges.
The Immunity and Leniency Programs are the Bureau’s most powerful tools for detecting and stopping illegal conduct.
- On December 13, 2017, NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. was fined $550,000 for rigging bids for spark plugs.
- On April 25, 2017, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation was fined $13.4 million for rigging bids for alternators and ignition coils.
- On July 20, 2016, Nishikawa Rubber Co., Ltd. was fined of US$130 million, for rigging bids for body sealing products.
- On April 1, 2016, Showa Corporation was fined $13 million for rigging bids for electric power steering gears.
- On December 9, 2015, Toyo Tire was fined $1.7 million for rigging bids for anti‑vibration components.
- On December 11, 2014, Yamashita Rubber Co. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for anti-vibration components and systems.
- On August 20, 2014, DENSO Corporation was fined $2.45 million for rigging bids for body electronic control units.
- On February 20, 2014, Panasonic Corporation was fined $4.7 million for rigging bids for switches and sensors.
- On January 30, 2014, NSK Ltd. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On July 12, 2013, JTEKT Corporation was fined $5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On April 18, 2013, Yazaki Corporation was fined $30 million for rigging bids for wire harnesses.
- On April 4, 2013, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. was fined $5 million for rigging bids for electrical boxes.
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