It was the early 2010, the Toyota witch hunt was in full swing. While Toyota executives were burnt at the stake grilled on the Hill, Denso’s U.S. offices were raided by the FBI. Denso is a major automotive parts supplier, and a member of the Toyota family. The raid was part of an on-going investigation into alleged anti-trust violations. Or so they said.
After the NHTSA, NASA and the National Academy of Sciences could not find a ghost in the machine, the Department of Justice also cleared out its case file. For a fee.
Denso and the DoJ cut a plea deal. Denso will pay a fine of $78 million “based on charges that it violated antitrust laws in connection with sales of certain automotive components” to one of its customers, Denso said today in a statement.
The fine will hit the books as a (hopefully) non-recurring one time charge in the third quarter of the fiscal year ending March 2012. It is said to have “no material effect on the Company’s financial forecast for the fiscal year.”
Internally, there is some finger rapping: Denso’s chairman, president and some board members and executive directors have to “voluntarily return 30 percent to 10 percent of their compensation for a three-month period starting in February 2012.”
Another supplier, Yazaki Corp., did not get off as easily. The company agreed to plead guilty to U.S. charges and pay a $470-million fine, says the LA Times. Even more painful, four of its executives are to serve prison terms of up to two years, the paper says.