Panasonic and their subsidiary Sanyo have pleaded guilty to price fixing in regards to auto parts and battery cells within the United States. The companies will pay $56.5 million in fines, according to the U.S. Justice Department. LG Chem Ltd. also pleaded guilty and will pay over $1 million for price-fixing involving batteries.
Between September 2003 and February 2010, Panasonic ?participated in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices? of car parts, according to Japan Times. The parts were sold to Toyota and several other companies in the U.S. Panasonic engaged in price-fixing for automotive HID ballasts to Honda, Mazda, and Nissan starting in 1998. Panasonic will be paying $45.8 million as a criminal fine for their part in the conspiracy.
?Including Panasonic, 11 companies and 15 executives have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty and have agreed to pay a total of more than $874 million in criminal fines as a result of the auto parts investigation,? said the company in a statement. Some of the executives have been sentenced or will do jail time.
Panasonic, LG, and Sanyo collected and exchanged information to monitor and enforce the agreed upon prices and concealed the conspiracy.