Canada’s Competition Bureau ended its investigation into criminal big-rigging in the auto parts sector with a guilty plea from Japanese auto parts manufacturer INOAC.
INOAC pleaded guilty under the Criminal Code to one count of conspiracy to engage in bid-rigging and was ordered to pay fines and surcharges of $1.3 million. With its competitors, INOAC conspired to allocate bids issued by Toyota in 2004 for the supply of plastic interior car parts used in Toyota Corollas manufactured and sold in Canada.
The Bureau began its investigation in 2009 after it learned of illegal activity in the auto parts industry through its Immunity Program, which provides immunity from prosecution to the first party to disclose an offence or to provide evidence leading to the filing of charges.
INOAC’s guilty plea concludes the Bureau’s investigation into a series of international bid-rigging conspiracies among car parts suppliers. The investigation led to 13 guilty pleas and fines totalling more than $86 million, including three of the largest bid-rigging fines ever imposed by the courts in Canada: $30 million (Yazaki Corporation), $13.4 million (Mitsubishi Electric) and $13 million (Showa Corporation).