$5M fine is Canada's largest for bid-rigging
Auto parts maker Furukawa Electric conspired with other Japanese companies
A Japanese auto parts maker has been handed the biggest fine ever imposed for bid-rigging in Canada for its role in an international conspiracy that saw Canadians pay higher prices for a variety of auto parts.
The federal Competition Bureau says Furukawa Electric has been fined $5 million by the Ontario Superior Court.
Authorities say Furukawa conspired with other Japanese auto parts makers to submit inflated bids or tenders to supply replacement parts for Honda of Canada.
"Cracking down on cartels, including bid-rigging offences, is a top priority for the bureau," said John Pecman, the Competition Bureau's interim commissioner. "This criminal activity defrauded the automobile sector in Canada and the substantial fine demonstrates the seriousness of such an offence."
Furukawa was involved in $41-million worth of bid-rigging over a 10-year period beginning in 2000. The company supplied electrical boxes, fuse boxes, relay boxes and junction blocks to Honda of Canada for use in 2001 and 2006 Honda Civics. The bureau noted that the Civic has been Canada's best-selling passenger car for 15 consecutive years.
There is no allegation of wrongdoing against any automaker, including Honda, the bureau said.
Authorities say they first became aware of the bid-rigging through the Competition Bureau's immunity program. Bureau officials say Furukawa co-operated in their investigation.
A release from the bureau said its investigation into the auto parts industry is "ongoing" and is being carried out in concert with authorities in the U.S., Japan, the European Community and Australia.