WASHINGTON — The former president and vice president of Osaka,  Japan-based Diamond Electric Mfg. Co. Ltd. have agreed to plead guilty for  their participation in a global conspiracy to fix prices of ignition coils  installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice  announced today.  Ignition coils are part  of a car’s fuel ignition system and release electric energy suddenly to ignite  a fuel mixture.

Separate  felony charges were filed today in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District  of Michigan in Detroit against Shigehiko Ikenaga and Tatsuo Ikenaga.  According to court documents, from at least as  early as July 2003 until at least February 2010, the former executives participated  in a conspiracy to rig bids for, and to fix, stabilize and maintain the prices  of ignition coils sold to automotive manufacturers for installation in vehicles  manufactured in the United States and elsewhere.  The automotive manufacturers included Ford  Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd. – more commonly  known by its brand name, Subaru – and certain of their subsidiaries.

Shigehiko  Ikenaga, president of Diamond Electric during the relevant period, agreed to  serve 16 months in a U.S. prison.  Tatsuo  Ikenaga, Diamond Electric’s managing director, and then vice president  beginning in 2008, agreed to serve 13 months in a U.S. prison.  Tatsuo Ikenaga also simultaneously served as president  of Diamond Electric’s U.S. subsidiary during the relevant period.  Additionally, the former executives have each  agreed to pay a $5,000 criminal fine and to cooperate with the department’s  ongoing investigation.  Each of the  Ikenaga’s plea agreements is subject to court approval.  On Sept. 10, 2013, Diamond Electric pleaded  guilty for its involvement in the conspiracy and was fined $19 million.

“The two former executives charged  today once again demonstrate the Antitrust Division’s vigorous commitment to  hold individuals accountable for engaging in anticompetitive conduct,” said  Brent Snyder, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division’s  criminal enforcement program.  “The division’s  ongoing investigation has resulted in more than two dozen executives serving  prison time for their participation in illegal, auto parts conspiracies.”

Diamond  Electric is a manufacturer of ignition coils and was engaged in the sale of  ignition coils in the United States and elsewhere. According to the charges, the  Diamond Electric executives and their co-conspirators carried out the  conspiracy by, among other things, agreeing during meetings and communications  to coordinate bids submitted to automobile manufacturers.

Each  executive is charged with price fixing and bid rigging in violation of the  Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1  million criminal fine for individuals.  The  maximum fine for an individual may be increased to twice the gain derived from  the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of  those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Including  today’s charges, 28 individuals and 24 companies have been charged in the  government’s ongoing investigation into price fixing and bid rigging in the  auto parts industry.

Today’s charges  arose from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid  rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the automotive parts industry,  which is being conducted by each of the Antitrust Division’s criminal  enforcement sections and the FBI.  Today’s pleas are the result of the National  Criminal Enforcement Section with the assistance of the Detroit Field Office of  the FBI.  Anyone with information on  price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct related to other  products in the automotive parts industry should contact the Antitrust  Division’s Citizen Complaint Center at 1-888-647-3258, visit,  or call the Detroit Field Office of the FBI at 313-965-2323.

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