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Panasonic fined over conspiracy to fix prices of laptop batteries, auto parts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2013 8:59

Panasonic fined over conspiracy to fix prices of laptop batteries, auto parts Panasonic will plead guilty to U.S. government charges that it conspired to fix prices of laptop battery packs and auto parts for 15 years.
The Japanese electronics maker will pay $56.5 million in fines and 15 executives from multiple companies will serve jail time, ranging from one year to two years for their part in the scheme.

Starting in 1998, Panasonic was accused of working with other companies to "fix, stabilize, and maintain the prices of lighting equipment (HID ballasts)" that were later sold to Honda, Mazda and Nissan. Additionally, they fixed the prices of switches and sensors for auto steering wheels, doors, wipers, turn signals and the system's control system that were later sold to Toyota. This portion of the price fixing only lasted from 2003 to 2010, however.

On the laptop battery side, it wasn't Panasonic that conspired to fix prices, but instead Sanyo, which the company acquired four years ago for $4.5 billion. Sanyo and LG Chem fixed the prices of cylindrical lithium ion battery packs for laptop computers sold around the globe. The conspiracy lasted for all of 2007 and 2008 .

"The conduct of Panasonic, SANYO, and LG Chem resulted in inflated production costs for notebook computers and cars purchased by U.S. consumers," said Joseph S. Campbell, an FBI official involved in the investigation, in a statement released Friday by the Justice Department.

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