Japanese Exec Charged With Price Fixing

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- An executive with G.S. Electech has been charged with conspiracy to rig bids and fix prices for automobile antilock brake parts installed in American cars.

A federal grand jury in Covington, Ky., on Wednesday indicted Shingo Okuda, who is accused of agreeing to coordinate bids and fix prices of automotive parts submitted to Toyota.

According to the charge, Okuda's involvement in the conspiracy lasted from at least as early as January 2003 until at least February 2010.

The U.S. Justice Department says the indictment is the first in Kentucky in an ongoing investigation into anticompetitive behavior in the auto parts industry. To date, 11 companies and 16 executives have been charged in the Justice Department's ongoing investigation and more than $874 million in criminal fines have been imposed.

In May 2012, G.S. Electech Inc. pleaded guilty and was sentenced to pay a $2.75 million criminal fine for its role in the conspiracy related to speed sensor wire assemblies.

"Those who engage in price fixing, bid rigging and other fraudulent schemes harm the automotive industry by driving up costs for vehicle makers and buyers," said John Robert Shoup, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Detroit Division.

G.S. Electech Inc. makes, assembles and sells a variety of automotive electrical parts, including speed sensor wire assemblies. The speed sensor wires connect a sensor on each wheel to the ABS to instruct it when to engage.

Court records did not list an attorney for Okuda.

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