Gikou Nakajima, the former director of consumer relations with Takata Corporation, has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly helping to fix the prices of seatbelts that were sold to leading Japanese automakers. Nakajima was charged with one count of conspiracy to fix prices in violation of the Sherman Act. According to the Justice Department, he faces up to 10 years in prison and fines up to $1 million if convicted. The fines, however, can be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victim.
The indictment alleges that Nakajima conspired with competitors to rig bids for the prices of seat belts being sold to Japanese auto manufacturers and their subsidiaries from September of 2005 through June of 2009. The affected seat belts were sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co., Nissan Motor Co., Mazda Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.
“Today’s indictment demonstrates that the antitrust division continues to hold accountable executives who collude with their competitors,” stated Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general for the antitrust division’s criminal enforcement program.
Takata Corporation pleaded guilty to price fixing in October and was fined $71.3 million for its involvement in conspiracy. Four other Takata executives have also pleaded guilty and were sentenced with prison time and fines.