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Bridgestone Pleads Guilty To Hosing Bids For Marine Hose

Posted  October 3, 2011

The U.S. Department of Justice has announced that Tokyo based manufacturer Bridgestone Corp. has agreed to plead guilty to rigging bids and making corrupt payments to government officials in Latin America related to the sale of marine hose and other industrial products.

As part of the plea bargain struck with the Department of Justice, Bridgestone is pleading guilty to violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Sherman Act, and will pay a $28 million fine.

The alleged antitrust conspiracy concerns the sale of marine hose, a flexible rubber hose used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities.

According to the Department of Justice, Bridgestone and its co-conspirators agreed to allocate shares of the marine hose market by not competing for one another’s customers either by not submitting prices or bids, or by submitting intentionally high prices or bids to certain customers.  Bridgestone allegedly received marine hose prices for customers from an alleged “coordinator” of the conspiracy and then sold the marine hose to those customers at collusive and noncompetitive prices.  The Department of Justice claims that Bridgestone concealed the conspiracy through code names, private email accounts, and telephone numbers.

The plea agreement commends Bridgestone’s cooperation with the Department of Justice, and acknowledges Bridgestone’s “extensive remediation” efforts.

Tagged in: Antitrust Enforcement, Price Fixing,