Car parts manufacturer Mitsubishi Electric Corporation has pleaded guilty in Canada to three counts of bid-rigging for participating in an international conspiracy and was fined CDN$13.4m by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
A Canadian competition bureau investigation determined that Mitsubishi Electric entered into illegal agreements with "a competing Japanese car parts manufacturer". The companies conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by Honda and Ford for the supply of alternators, and by General Motors for the supply of ignition coils. The calls for bids occurred between 2003 and 2006.
To date, investigations into a series of bid-rigging agreements among car parts suppliers have resulted in the three largest fines ever ordered by a court in Canada for bid-rigging offences: Yazaki Corporation ($30m), Mitsubishi Electric ($13.4m) and Showa Corporation ($13m).
Since April 2013, bureau investigations involving car parts have resulted in over $84m in fines imposed by the courts in Canada.
The bureau first learned of cartel activity in the car parts industry by way of its immunity programme which provides immunity from prosecution to the first party to disclose an offence or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges.
These car parts investigations also benefited from the cooperation of numerous companies under the leniency programme, in which Mitsubishi Electric participated. The supplier also implemented a compliance programme to prevent further contravention of Canada's competition act.
"Today's resolution including this significant fine sends a clear message to the international marketplace that no matter where illegal agreements are conducted, if they affect Canadian consumers, the bureau will not hesitate to take action," said Matthew Boswell, senior deputy commissioner of competition, in a statement.