2011/9/30 古河電気工業

自動車用ワイヤーハーネス・カルテルに関する米国司法省との合意について
 

1.事実の概要
 当社は、2011 年9 月29 日(米国時間)、米国司法省との間で、自動車用ワイヤーハーネスおよび同関連製品に係る競合他社とのカルテルに関して、今後の刑事裁判手続きにおいて当社が米国司法省による起訴事実を認め罰金200 百万米ドルを支払うこと等を内容とする、司法取引に合意致しました。

他に3人が禁固刑

2.決定の理由
 当社グループは、米国司法省が実施してきた当社グループを含む自動車用ワイヤーハーネスおよび同関連製品メーカーに対する調査に、全面的に協力して参りました。この度、適用法令、事実関係等を総合的に勘案した結果、米国司法省との間で司法取引契約を締結することと致しました。

3.当社の業績に与える影響
 本件に伴い、平成24 年3 月期第2 四半期決算において、15,296 百万円を特別損失として計上致します。なお、本日付けで公表した「特別損失の計上及び業績予想の修正に関するお知らせ」のとおり、平成24 年3 月期の業績予想を修正しております。

4.役員報酬の返上について
 当社および社会に及ぼす影響の大きさを考慮し、経営として深い反省を込め、次のとおり役員報酬の一部返上を行うことと致しました。
 代表取締役 会長 石原 廣司 50% 3 ヶ月
 代表取締役 社長 @田 政雄 50% 3 ヶ月
 取締役兼執行役員常務 電装・エレクトロニクスカンパニー長 柳本 正博 30% 3 ヶ月
 執行役員 電装・エレクトロニクスカンパニー自動車部品事業部長 信崎 卓 25% 3 ヶ月

5.再発防止策
 当社グループでは、2009 年12 月に「独占禁止法違反問題に関する第三者調査委員会」による報告書を公表し、同委員会の提言に基づく再発防止策を実行して参りました。また、同委員会の調査と並行して社外弁護士による徹底的な調査を実施し、過去に問題のあった行為については再発のないことを確認するとともに、疑いのある行為の全てを停止しております。
 今後も引き続き信頼回復に向け、国内外すべてのグループ会社において、コンプライアンスの徹底を図って参ります。

米当局は住友電工、矢崎総業、フジクラにも立ち入り検査をしている。

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公取委は又、車の配線に使うワイヤハーネスでも、本年2月に住友電気工業、古河電気工業、矢崎総業などに立入り調査を行い、調査を進めている。
これについては、日本の公取委に加え、自国の市場にも悪影響を与えた疑いがあると判断して、米、英、豪、カナダ、欧州委員会の5つの海外当局が調査に着手しているとされている。

2010/11/30 公取委、建設・電販向け電線カルテルで排除措置命令及び課徴金納付命令

公取委は2011年6月、矢崎総業、住友電工、フジクラの3社に総額120億円超の課徴金納付命令、矢崎とフジクラに排除命令を下す方針を決め、事前通知している。
古河電工は立ち入り検査を受けたが、減免制度を利用したとみられ、課徴金納付と排除命令を免除された。

公取委は2010年5月、特別高圧電線や光ファイバーケーブルの分野で、カルテルを結んだとして、電線大手やその子会社に課徴金納付命令を出した。

2010/5/26  光ファイバーケーブルのカルテルで過去最高の課徴金

公取委は2010年11月、建設・電販向け電線カルテルで5社に対し排除措置命令及び課徴金納付命令を出した。

2010/11/30 公取委、建設・電販向け電線カルテルで排除措置命令及び課徴金納付命令

公取委は2011年7月、VVFケーブル(主に建物内のブレーカーからコンセント等までの屋内配線として使用)の製造業者及び販売業者に対し、排除措置命令及び課徴金納付命令を出した。

同上 付記

 

2011/9/29 AP

Auto parts firm to pay $200M fine for price fixing

Carmakers were forced to pay more for auto parts because a group of suppliers conspired to raise prices for more than a decade, the Justice Department said Thursday.

The scheme, revealed in documents filed with the federal court in Detroit, likely raised prices that consumers paid for cars.

In the documents, federal prosecutors charged a Japanese company and three of its executives with conspiracy to restrain trade. Prosecutors said the company, Furukawa Electric Co. of Tokyo, agreed to plead guilty and pay a $200 million fine, while the executives also will admit guilt and serve prison time in the U.S.

Furukawa, which makes automobile wiring, is part of a wider investigation into an auto parts cartel that rigged prices in the U.S. and Japan, according to the documents.

"This cartel harmed an important industry in our nation's economy," said Sharis Pozen the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's antitrust division. She called the fine "one of our largest."

It was unclear how many automakers were affected by the conspiracy, how many models were affected and how much the price-fixing scheme inflated parts prices.

The Justice Department did not identify the other companies involved in the cartel.

Starting in January 2000, Furukawa conspired with other cartel members to fix prices of wiring harnesses that were sold to car manufacturers in the U.S. and elsewhere "on a model-by-model basis," Pozen told reporters at a Washington news conference.

The harnesses are groups of wires that link electronic controls to everything from brake lights to transmissions.

Pozen said the Justice Department is working with international authorities in the probe, though she declined to identify them.

Asked if prices were fixed and bids rigged for other auto parts, Pozen responded that the investigation is "broad."

The company and the three executives have all agreed to cooperate with the Justice Department.

The three Furukawa executives, all Japanese nationals, will serve prison time in the U.S ranging from a year and a day to 18 months. It is rare for foreign executives to serve any U.S. prison time for price-fixing, much less serious felony time of more than a year behind bars.

DOJ  
 

According to the plea agreements, Funo, Nagata and Ukai have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in the conspiracy and to serve prison time in the United States of a year and a day, 15 months and 18 months, respectively.  The department said that Funo, Nagata and Ukai participated in the conspiracy at various times from at least as early as April 2003, until at least July 2009.  Funo worked in the Honda sales division of Furukawa in Japan and in the United States as a sales representative, assistant general manager and manager.  Nagata was employed by a Furukawa subsidiary in the United States as a general manager of sales and chief financial officer, and by a related joint venture as marketing manager.  Ukai worked in Japan in the Honda sales division of Furukawa as a manager, unit chief and general manager.  

During at least part of the conspiracy, two of the executives who are pleading guilty — Junichi Funo and Hirotsugu Nagata — engaged in price-fixing in the Detroit area, the Justice Department said. Court papers identified the third executive as Tetsuya Ukai. Two of the executives worked in the Honda sales division.

Justice Department Spokeswoman Gina Talamona said she did not know if the executives will have to be extradited from Japan.

Honda alone has sold more than 15 million vehicles in the U.S. since January 2000, so the company could have been overcharged by hundreds of millions of dollars, said Jim Gillette, an analyst with the firm IHS Automotive, which advises auto parts suppliers.

Most cars have at least four wiring harnesses that cost automakers around $100 each depending on their complexity, Gillette said.

Honda, he said, probably had to absorb most of the added cost. That is because it has been difficult to raise prices in recent years due to competition.

Honda spokesman Ed Miller would say only that federal authorities told the company of the investigation in early 2010, and Honda is cooperating in the probe.

Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit and a former federal prosecutor, said more companies will be charged as the Justice Department gets information from the Furukawa executives.

Automakers are likely to sue the companies to recover millions of dollars, he said.

"You can piggyback on the criminal conviction because that establishes that they were involved in price fixing," Henning said.

Word of the investigation surfaced in February of 2010 when the FBI raided the U.S. offices of three parts makers that supply Toyota Motor Corp. and other manufacturers.

The FBI's Detroit office said at the time that agents raided the offices of Denso Corp., Yazaki North America and Tokai Rika. Spokesmen for Yazaki and Tokai Rika said Thursday that the investigations continue and they are cooperating. Messages were left for a Denso spokeswoman.

Furukawa and the three executives are each charged with conspiring to violate the Sherman Act in restraint of trade. Talamona said she did not know when the executives would appear in court.