Tokuo Tatai, an executive of Japan-based capacitor manufacturer Elna Co. Ltd., pleaded guilty for his role in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.
A December 2016 indictment, filed in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California, charged Tatai with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition of electrolytic capacitors by fixing prices and rigging bids. The charge alleges that Tatai participated in the conspiracy from January 2009 to January 2012. In addition to pleading guilty, Tatai has agreed to serve a prison term of a year and a day and to cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing investigation.
“The Antitrust Division will hold accountable foreign nationals who participate in conspiracies that harm American consumers,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division. “This capacitors conspiracy affected millions of American consumers who use electronic devices in their everyday lives.”
Electrolytic capacitors store and regulate electrical current in a variety of electronic products, including computers, televisions, car engine and airbag systems, home appliances and office equipment.
Today’s charges result from an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the electrolytic capacitors industry. Eight companies and 10 individuals have been charged in the division’s ongoing investigation. The investigation is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Office and the FBI’s San Francisco Field Office.