12th guilty plea in international bid-rigging conspiracy
December 13, 2017 – OTTAWA, ON – Competition Bureau
Japanese car parts manufacturer NGK Spark Plug Co., Ltd. (NGK) pleaded guilty today to one count of bid-rigging for participating in an international conspiracy and was fined $550,000 by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.
A Competition Bureau investigation determined that NGK entered into illegal agreements with another supplier of spark plugs. The companies conspired to determine who would win certain calls for bids issued by the General Motors Company in 2005.
Since April 2013, Bureau investigations involving car parts have resulted in over $84.7 million in fines imposed by the courts in Canada.
“The 12th guilty plea in this international bid rigging case is a testament to the Competition Bureau’s unwavering commitment to the promotion of a competitive and innovative marketplace for the benefit of Canadians. Cracking down on cartels is a top enforcement priority for the Bureau and we will continue to vigorously pursue those who participate in cartel activities.”
Senior Deputy Commissioner of Competition
- A spark plug is a component installed into the cylinder head of a motor vehicle’s engine. The spark plug delivers an electrical spark to the engine’s combustion chamber where an air/fuel mixture is ignited.
- The Bureau first learned of cartel activity in the car parts industry by way of 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.
- These car parts investigations also benefitted from the cooperation of numerous companies under the Leniency Program, in which NGK participated. NGK also implemented a compliance program to prevent further contravention of the Competition Act.
- The Immunity and Leniency Programs are the Bureau’s most effective tools for detecting and deterring secret cartel agreements.
- Backgrounder: Overview of the automobile component bid-rigging conspiracy investigation
- Immunity Program
- Leniency Program
- Corporate Compliance Programs
- Video on cartels
- Video on bid-rigging
- On April 25, 2017, Mitsubishi Electric Corporation was fined $13.4 million for rigging bids for the supply of alternators and ignition coils.
- On July 20, 2016, Nishikawa Rubber Co., Ltd. was fined US$130 million for rigging bids for body sealing products.
- On April 1, 2016, Showa Corporation was fined $13 million for rigging bids for electric power steering gears.
- On December 9, 2015, Toyo Tire was fined $1.7 million for rigging bids for anti‑vibration components.
- On December 11, 2014, Yamashita Rubber Co. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for anti-vibration components and systems.
- On August 20, 2014, DENSO Corporation was fined $2.45 million for rigging bids for body electronic control units.
- On February 20, 2014, Panasonic Corporation was fined $4.7 million for rigging bids for certain types of switches and sensors.
- On January 30, 2014, NSK Ltd. was fined $4.5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On July 12, 2013, JTEKT Corporation was fined $5 million for rigging bids for automotive wheel hub unit bearings.
- On April 18, 2013, Yazaki Corporation was fined $30 million for rigging bids for wire harnesses.
- On April 4, 2013, Furukawa Electric Co., Ltd. was fined $5 million for rigging bids for electrical boxes.
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The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.