Panasonic to enter plea in price-fixing conspiracy

In auto parts industry probe, Panasonic and subsidiary to pay $56.5M

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Justice Department says Panasonic Corp. and a subsidiary, SANYO Electric Co. Ltd., have agreed to plead guilty in a price-fixing conspiracy involving auto parts and battery cells and to pay $56.5 million in criminal fines.

Panasonic's guilty plea involves prices for auto parts sold to Toyota Motor Corp., Honda Motor Co. Ltd., Mazda Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. in the U.S. and elsewhere.

Separately, SANYO and another company, LG Chem Ltd., agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix prices of lithium ion batteries sold for notebook computer battery packs. LG Chem has agreed to pay a $1 million criminal fine.

The pleas are part of an ongoing probe in which 11 companies and 15 executives have agreed to pay more than $874 million in criminal fines.

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