(WINDSOR, ON) – Canada has recorded its 11th guilty plea in an international bid-rigging conspiracy involving a number of companies which manufacturer auto parts. Mitsubishi Electric Corporation is the latest to plead guilty today.
In its case, Mitsubishi faced three counts of bid-rigging for participating in an international conspiracy and was fined $13.4 million by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
A Canadian Competition Bureau investigation determined Mitsubishi had entered into illegal agreements with a competing Japanese car parts manufacturer. The pair conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by Honda and Ford for the supply of alternators, and by General Motors for the supply of ignition coils.
The calls for bids occurred between 2003 and 2006.
To date, investigations into a series of bid-rigging agreements among car parts suppliers have resulted in the three largest fines ever ordered by a court in Canada for bid‑rigging offences. Yazaki Corporation was fined $30 million, Mitsubishi Electric $13.4 million, and Showa Corporation $13 million.
Since April 2013, CCB investigations involving car parts have resulted in over $84 million in court imposed fines.
Mitsubishi alternators charge the battery and supply electricity to the electrical systems of a vehicle while it is running. Ignition coils transform voltage from the battery to the necessary voltage to trigger a spark plug which ignites fuel.
The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the car parts industry by way of its Immunity Program. Immunity shields the first party to disclose an offence, or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges, from being investigated.
The investigations also benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Leniency Program, in which Mitsubishi Electric participated. Mitsubishi Electric also implemented a compliance program to prevent further contravention of the Competition Act.
“Today’s resolution, including this significant fine, sends a clear message to the international marketplace that no matter where illegal agreements are conducted, if they affect Canadian consumers, the Bureau will not hesitate to take action,” stressed Matthew Boswell, the CCB’s senior deputy commissioner of competition.
Companies which have been fined related to bid rigging offences include Nishikawa Rubber Co, Showa Corporation, Toyo Tire, Yamashita Rubber Co, Denso Corporation, Panasonic Corporation, NSK Ltd, Jtekt Corporation, Yazaki Corporation, and Furukawa Electric Co.
The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.