04/18/2013 07:44 EDT | Updated 06/18/2013 05:12 EDT

Bid-rigging conspiracy nets $30M fine for Japanese car parts supplier in Canada

OTTAWA - A Japanese car parts supplier has been ordered to pay $30 million for its involvement in a bid-rigging conspiracy related to products it sold to automakers Honda and Toyota.

The record-setting fine was levied against Yazaki Corporation after it pleaded guilty to a charge of bid-rigging under Canada's Competition Act.

The company admitted it worked with other Japanese car parts suppliers to submit bids to supply wire harnesses when asked by the two large automakers for the 2005 Honda Ridgeline, 2006 Honda Civic and 2006 Toyota Corolla/Matrix models.

The conspiracy resulted in Yazaki earning a contract worth US$260 million from Honda and Toyota in Canada, according to a release Thursday by the Competition Bureau.

This is the second guilty plea related to this investigation.

According to the agency, another Japanese auto parts supplier, Furukawa, was fined $5 million earlier this month for rigging bids to supply electrical boxes to the carmakers.

"Cartelists must be penalized for defrauding Canadians," said John Pecman, interim commissioner of the Competition Bureau. "The record fine in this matter underscores the seriousness of bid-rigging offences and sends a strong message that companies need to comply with the law."

The agency added that these charges are only related to these companies, and not the automakers themselves.

"Bid-rigging has a negative impact on the Canadian economy,"" said Matthew Boswell, acting senior deputy commissioner of competition.

"In this case, our investigation determined that Honda and Toyota were denied the economic benefits of a competitive bidding process with respect to the wire harnesses used in some of the most popular cars sold in Canada."