Bridgestone plea bargain in marine hose case
Bridgestone Corp. has entered into a plea agreement regarding its involvement with a bid-rigging scheme in the US and bribery charges in Latin America. According to Tire Review, under the plea agreement, Bridgestone has pleaded guilty to antitrust conspiracy charges and a violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. As a result, the company will pay a $28 million fine, which is said was “a significant reduction from the applicable sentencing guidelines due to Bridgestone’s cooperation and remediation efforts.”
The plea deal is subject to approval by the U.S. District Court in Houston. In addition, Bridgestone will leave the marine hose market.
Since May 2007, the U.S. Department of Justice has been investigating five international companies, including Bridgestone, for their involvement in a marine hose cartel, a group that allegedly predetermined the outcome of bid-winners and marketshare. In Bridgestone’s case, it was further alleged that through its local agent the company made “improper payments to government officials” in Latin America.