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2014-05-26 13:23

ERIC TUCKER

SPARE PARTS SHAKE-UP: Companies found guilty of price fixing have agreed to pay out the equivalent of R23-billion in fines.Image: Shutterstock.

WASHINGTON, USA - A price-fixing investigation into the US auto parts industry has mushroomed into the American Justice Department's largest criminal antitrust probe yet.

The investigation was made public four years ago after FBI raids in the Detroit area which led to transcontinental criminal charges against dozens of people and reverberated through an industry responsible for supplying critical car components.

HUGE FINES

Thirty-four individuals have been charged and 27 companies have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so. Collectively, they've agreed to pay about R23-billion in fines.

A Justice Department official says it's safe to say that US car buyers paid more as a result of the conspiracy.

Officials say the investigation stands out for its scope and for the co-operation received from Japan, Australia and other countries.
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