Panasonic fined for fixing prices of laptop battery packs
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In a surprising bit of news, Panasonic will be pleading guilty to price fixing auto parts and laptop battery packs, leading to a $56.5 million fine. The price fixing had been taking place since 1998, but the plea agreement was only reached last week.
According to the Justice Department, Panasonic worked with companies to manipulate prices of auto parts that were sold to various car makers including Toyota, Honda, Mazda and Nissan. The parts include switches, sensors, turn signals and other auto parts dating all the way back to 1998. As a result of their role in the scandal, the company will be forking over $45.8 million and a number of executives will also be serving jail time.
In addition, Sanyo (a subsidiary of Panasonic) and LG Chem were fined $10.731 million for their role in the price fixing of laptop battery packs during the period of April 2007 through September 2008. The lithium ion packs were sold to various notebook manufacturers at pre-determined prices, using agreements made between between Sanyo, LG Chem and other co-conspirators. The co-conspirators for both charges were not identified, but the total fines reach over $874 million.