Tyre maker Bridgestone pleads guilty to price-fixing

Bridgestone tires Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Bridgestone is most known for its tyres but it also makes a variety of other car parts

Tyre maker Bridgestone has pleaded guilty to price-fixing and agreed to pay a $425m (£255m) fine to the US Department of Justice (DOJ).

According to the charges, Bridgestone participated in raising the prices of anti-vibration rubber parts sold to car manufacturers.

Tokyo-based Bridgestone is the 26th firm to be caught in the DOJ probe into price-fixing in the car parts industry.

The investigation has so far levied more than $2bn in fines.

In a statement, Bridgestone said management "sincerely regret the actions that resulted in this plea agreement and that they did not discover these activities at an earlier date".

It also said it would take disciplinary action against certain employees and that some executives would forego bonuses in March.

In October 2011, Bridgestone pleaded guilty and paid a $28m fine for fixing the price of marine hoses, but the firm did not reveal that it had also been fixing the price of the anti-vibration rubber parts.

"The Antitrust Division will take a hard line when repeat offenders fail to disclose additional anti-competitive behaviour," said Brent Snyder, deputy assistant attorney general, in a statement.

The agreement is subject to court approval.

Bridgestone said as a result of the settlement, it will will record a special loss of 44.79bn yen ($7.4bn; £4.4bn) for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2013

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