WASHINGTON, D.C. — A leading electrolytic capacitor manufacturer that pleaded guilty to price fixing has been ordered to pay a $60 million criminal fine and has been sentenced to a five-year term of probation.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Nippon Chemi-Con suppressed and eliminated competition for electrolytic capacitors that store and regulate electrical current in several electronic products such as computers, televisions, car engines, airbag systems and home appliances.
In 2017 Nippon was charged with fixing prices of the capacitors during meetings and other communications. Code names and misleading justifications for prices and bids were submitted to customers in an effort to cover up their collusion, the DOJ said.
"[This] sentence affirms the Antitrust Division’s commitment to holding companies, whether foreign or domestic, accountable for conspiring to cheat American consumers,” DOJ Antitrust Division assistant attorney general Makan Delrahim said in a statement. “In addition to the significant fine, the five-year probation period promotes deterrence and will help to protect the public.”
According to the DOJ, eight companies and 10 individuals have been charged for their involvement with the price fixing conspiracy. The companies have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to criminal fines amounting to more than $150 million. In addition, two individuals have pleaded guilty and eight are under indictment including four Nippon executives, the DOJ said.