G.S. Electech executive indicted in U.S. for price fixing


An executive with Japanese auto parts company G.S. Electech Inc has been indicted for allegedly fixing prices and rigging bids for parts in some antilock brake systems installed in U.S. cars, the Justice Department said on Wednesday.

The indictment is the latest in a wide-ranging probe into price fixing of a variety of car parts that has ensnared 11 companies and 16 executives to date.

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Privately held G.S. Electech, which manufactures, assembles and sells a variety of automotive electrical parts, previously settled with the Justice Department.

The European Commission has a parallel investigation under way.

The Electech executive, Shingo Okuda, a Japanese national, was indicted for conspiring to fix bids for products sold to Toyota Motor Corp <7203.T> and Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America Inc in the United States and elsewhere, the Justice Department said.

Okuda's indictment came in Kentucky, where Toyota has a large assembly plant. He is accused of being part of the conspiracy from January 2003 to at least February 2010.

The parts involved in the Justice Department's wide-ranging investigation have included heater control panels that regulate a car's temperature, switches for turn signals and wiper blades, power locks, dashboard panel instruments, airbags, steering wheels and seat belts.

Among the companies that the Justice Department's Antitrust Division has settled with are Autoliv , Tokai Rika Co Ltd <6995.T>, TRW Deutschland Holding GmbH, Nippon Seiki Col Ltd, Fujikura Ltd<5803.T>, Furukawa Electric Co Ltd <5801.T> and Yazaki Corp.

(Reporting by Diane Bartz; editing by Ros Krasny and Leslie Adler)