US: 3 agree to plead guilty in parts price fixing

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CLEVELAND (AP) - Three executives in Japan's automotive parts industry have agreed to plead guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy and two more have been indicted in the U.S. investigation, the government said Thursday.

The plea agreements filed in Detroit and the indictment filed in Toledo were announced Thursday by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Justice Department said Yasuhiko Ueno, Saburo Imamiya and Yoshinobu Fujino, all executives of Tokyo-based Takata Corp., agreed to plead guilty to charges of participating in a conspiracy to rig prices for seatbelts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., Fuji Heavy Industries Inc. (Subaru) and Mazda Motor Corp. in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The three have agreed to serve prison sentences ranging from 14 to 19 months, the government said.

The indictment filed in Toledo charged Masao Hayashi and Kenya Nonoyama, both Japanese nationals, with participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of anti-vibration rubber parts sold to Toyota for installation in automobiles manufactured and sold in the U.S.

Their company was identified in the indictment only as Company A, based in Osaka, Japan.

Takata said it has cooperated in the investigation.

"We are committed to strengthening our reputation as a trusted supplier of automotive parts while also focusing on additional training internally," communications vice president Alby Berman said in an email.

No attorneys are listed in court records for the defendants.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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