A U.S. grand jury indicted Thursday an executive of Takata, the Japanese auto parts company accused of producing faulty airbags, with price-fixing in the auto seatbelts market.
A federal grand jury in the automotive hub Detroit accused Hiromu Usuda with one count of conspiring to fix the prices of seatbelts the company sold to Japanese automakers in the United States -- Honda, Toyota, Subaru, Nissan and Mazda.
Usuda was involved in the conspiracy from 2005 to 2011, when he served as Takata group and department manager in customer relations, the grand jury alleged.
"Usuda and others attended meetings with co-conspirators and reached collusive agreements to rig bids, allocate the supply and fix the prices of seatbelts sold to the automobile manufacturers," the Department of Justice said.
"Antitrust violators who refuse to accept responsibility for their crimes leave us no choice but to indict." Brent Synder, deputy assistant attorney general
Tokyo-based Takata Corp. already paid a $71.3 million criminal fine in December 2013 in the case after pleading guilty to its role in the price-fixing operation.
Four other company executives have also pleaded guilty in the case and were fined and sentenced to prison.
The Justice Department suggested Usuda had refused to plead guilty and cut a deal in the case as others did.
"Antitrust violators who refuse to accept responsibility for their crimes leave us no choice but to indict," said Brent Synder, deputy assistant attorney general. "We will continue to prosecute those that commit these crimes."
Takata is under separate investigation for problematic airbags it supplied at least 10 automakers around the world that have been tied to several deaths and forced the recall of millions of cars worldwide.
Takata denies having hidden the problem for long after they knew about it.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015